Montague Selectboard votes to euthanize dog following multiple attacks

  • Animal Control Officer Calin Giurgiu presents photographs to the Selectboard during a dog hearing on Tuesday at Montague Town Hall. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Nancy Pike (far right) and her son Jason Pike (seated at the right end of the table) speak to the Selectboard during a dog hearing on Tuesday at Montague Town Hall. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer
Published: 10/5/2022 4:45:17 PM

MONTAGUE — The Selectboard voted Tuesday to euthanize a dog that reportedly bit two people between December 2021 and September 2022.

The dog — a 2-year-old, 120-pound pitbull mix named Titan — was found dangerous in an Aug. 3 hearing, after having inspired “numerous complaints” about it “getting loose and acting aggressively” since September 2021, according to Town Counsel Gregg Corbo. It was then announced during a Sept. 26 Selectboard meeting that the dog had bitten another person on Sept. 22 after his owners allegedly violated regulations set by the Selectboard during the Aug. 3 hearing. Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled in response, during which the Selectboard found euthanasia to be in the best interest of the community.

During the Aug. 3 hearing, the Selectboard ordered that Titan must always be tethered outdoors and must be humanely muzzled when outside of an enclosure. Owner Jason Pike was also expected to fence in his Meadow Road property. However, Montague Police Sgt. James Deery, who responded to the Sept. 22 dog bite, wrote in his incident report that Titan was tethered to a large tire by a 30-foot leash. Meanwhile, a juvenile resident said he was seated a few feet away indoors when Titan broke free and bit a passerby.

“We put him in the pen … and as far as I know, I think my grandson was letting him in,” said Jason’s mother Nancy Pike, who was home, but said she didn’t see what happened. “He knows the protocol.”

Selectboard Chair Rich Kuklewicz observed “inconsistency” between what the police report states and what Nancy Pike recalled. He first pointed out that she identified her grandson as 18, whereas the report notes him as a juvenile. He also argued that the incident report was not indicative of the juvenile actively walking the dog indoors, as the Pikes had claimed. Ultimately, Kuklewicz recognized that the dog did not appear to be properly muzzled outdoors.

Jason Pike, the dog’s primary owner, presented photos of the fencing he had been working on at the Selectboard’s request. He asked the Selectboard to be mindful of how busy his days are and requested they put faith in him to remedy the situation. He also added that he plans to move to Alabama soon and would take Titan with him.

“It’s like if somebody took one of you guys’ kids,” he said of the potential for Titan to be euthanized. “I’m ready to get on my hands and knees to beg you guys for one more chance.”

While some residents like Jean Conway, who is not familiar with the Pike family, argued that Titan could “be rehabbed and become a good canine citizen,” experts who dealt with the dog spoke gravely of his attitude.

“The dog is very fearful toward staff members and our volunteers at the kennel,” said Regional Animal Control Officer Kyle Dragon, who added that after Titan was impounded, other dogs had to be kept away from his kennel at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Regional Dog Shelter.

“He doesn’t know me, so I understand the way he’s acting because I’m a stranger. Probably to the family, he acts different, but when he doesn’t know you, he growls,” Calin Giurgiu, the responding animal control officer who serves Montague, said of Titan’s demeanor toward humans.

Selectboard Clerk Matt Lord said he was “surprised and pleased” with the progress Jason Pike had made on the enclosure. He expressed that he felt inclined to be merciful, optimistic that with better enforcement of the Selectboard’s regulations, improvement is “a possibility.” At the same time, though, he recognized the gravity of Titan’s alleged disposition.

“That attitude, combined with the power he has, is a dangerous set of potential problems,” Lord said.

“I’d like to give the dog another chance, but I’m not sure we’ve heard any assurances that something like this won’t happen again,” added Selectboard Vice Chair Chris Boutwell.

After voicing a commitment to prioritize the safety of the townspeople, Kuklewicz proposed having Titan euthanized within 10 days. The Pike family and friends loudly expressed grief and anger toward the board as Kuklewicz read his motion. Jason Pike shouted expletives as he left the room, with Deery and Police Chief Christopher Williams following him out.

“There’s only one way to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Kuklewicz said before completing his motion. “This is not a game of three strikes. This can be something that’s very serious that I don’t want on my conscience.”

Before closing the hearing, Kuklewicz requested the Pikes be allowed to see Titan one last time before he is euthanized. This will be at the discretion of Animal Control.

Reach Julian Mendoza
at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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