AUBURN, Mass. – The Board of Selectmen voted on Monday to remove two pit bulls from Auburn after residents and police said they caused a safety hazard for the Church Street neighborhood.
The Board voted unanimously at a two-hour public hearing to “immediately and permanently remove the dogs from the town of Auburn.” However, until Sept. 3, the dogs will be moved to the town of Auburn kennel, which is a secure site.
After that date, the dogs will have to leave town with their owner, who is moving out of state. The dogs had been residing at 19 Church St., across from Mary D. Stone Elementary School.
In July, Michael Murphy of 15 Church St. wrote a complaint to the Board of Selectmen and Board of Public Health, requesting that the two pit bulls living at 19 Church St. be removed from the town. He said there have been four dangerous incidents in March and June with the dogs, including a June 27 situation in which the two dogs “attacked my wife and two children.”
“When the two dogs saw my family in the driveway, they immediately broke into a dead sprint towards them in an aggressive manner – barking and showing their teeth … My wife and children were petrified given the vicious nature in which the dogs were approaching,” the complaint stated.
Margaret Murphy, Michael’s wife, was at the hearing to talk about the June incident.
“I felt extremely vulnerable with me in the yard with my children. It was terrifying. They were vicious,” said Margaret Murphy, as she began to tear up. “They were not under anyone’s control. I really feel that they’re more than a nuisance and there can be no next time. I’m fearful daily – in my home, in my driveway, in my yard.”
The police investigated the four complaints and concluded that the dogs were a nuisance to the community. Officer Paul Lombardi said other residents in the Church Street neighborhood told him that the dogs are out of control and aggressive.
Kiersten Castle, owner of the two dogs, testified that her dogs are not aggressive and that two of the incidents did not even involve her dogs.
But after listening to all the evidence, the Board voted to remove the dogs from the town.
“Based on Officer Lombardi’s report and witness reports, these dogs could become a threat to the neighborhood and are at the very least a nuisance,” said Selectmen Chairperson Doreen Goodrich.
As the Board voted to remove the dogs, Castle broke down in tears, saying, “They’re all that I have.” Castle said she will be moving out of state on Sept. 3 with the dogs.