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Montague pit bull, spared earlier, to be put down following hearing

MONTAGUE — Ulysses the pit bull, the subject of a viciousness hearing last month following two attacks, is now slated to be put down.

The Montague Board of Selectmen on Monday ordered that Ulysses be euthanized, a reversal of last month’s decision.

The selectmen, after hearing from a victim and the chief of police last month that Ulysses got loose in his Winthrop Street, Millers Falls neighborhood and bit the foot of a man in a wheelchair in April, then bit a neighbor nine times in the head and legs in July, had first ordered that the dog be chained and muzzled at all times when outdoors.

Selectmen also ordered owners to walk the animal, described as a pit bull weighing in the range of 100 pounds, in order to accustom it to people.

This week, Chief of Police Charles “Chip” Dodge III returned to request the dog be put down, saying two officers sent to the house on separate occasions to monitor compliance reported the dog tried to get at them through the door and windows. Dodge said the owner was found not to be in compliance with the earlier conditions, which he described as generous and lenient.

“My fear, based on what my officers have told me is that the dog is going to get out one day when someone comes to the door,” Dodge said. Dodge said there are children in the neighborhood and an attack by the dog could very well be fatal.

Ulysses is owned by Roberta Billiel of 18 Winthrop St. and her daughter Amanda.

Dodge said the owners were found to have purchased a rope rather than the required chain and were not walking the dog, a point the Billiels disputed.

Roberta Billiel said she had been walking the dog once a day on a thick rope.

“My dog jumps on doors because he’s big and he can push the door,” Amanda Billiel said, adding the dog listens only to her. She added that she intends to move and take the dog with her.

Dodge said that based on the lack of a chain, some recent police activity at the address and an observed lack of socialization it was his recommendation that Ulysses be euthanized.

“If there is ever a case where I think it is in the best interest of the dog and community to lay a dog to rest ... I think this is a best-case scenario,” Dodge said.

The dog was confiscated Aug. 30 and is being kept at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Regional Dog Shelter in Turners Falls, where director Leslee Colucci said it would be inhumane to keep him any longer as it is unsafe to walk him.

Colucci said Ulysses has been kept in an 8-by-8-foot enclosure for more than a week, and cannot be allowed out with humans or other dogs.

“I personally would not take that dog out and walk it on my own and I would not ask any of my volunteers to, either,” Colucci said.

With two board members expressing reluctance or regret, the selectmen voted unanimously, on Chairman Mark Fairbrother’s request, to have Ulysses put down.

Dodge said the owners have 10 days to appeal the decision in court, and Amanda Billiel said she intends to do just that.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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