On Monday September 14 Northbridge Selectmen held a dog hearing to determine if the dog who mauled and killed two toy pups while boarding at Gibson Kennel in Grafton was a dangerous dog. The hearing was held at the request of Roger and Brenda Demers of Shrewsbury, the owners of the two dogs who were killed. According to Gibson Kennel the Northbridge Husky was banging her cage while boarding and was able to break out. The husky was found with the toy poodle in her mouth, according to the kennel.
After a two-hour hearing the Northbridge husky was deemed a nuisance and was ordered to undergo weekly training at a kennel selected by the Northbridge ACO, the husky must be supervised around other dogs for the next thirty days. After the thirty days the board will reevaluate the restrictions.
Brenda Demers held back tears while reliving the tragic event. What was supposed to be a happy trip for recent empty nesters turned into a nightmare when they learned their two toy pups were killed during their stay at Gibson. They were told their dogs were attacked by a husky who had broken loose. She said Gibson kennels said the attack happened within the first few days of their stay and the dogs were being stored in a freezer. According to Roger Demers, the owner of the kennel told him the husky had to bang on the cage real hard to get out.
Photos of the frozen dogs taken by the vet after the mauling showed puncture wounds and bite marks consistent with an attack. Graham’s, the toy poodle, x-ray showed a broken spine. The veterinary report indicated it was difficult to examine the pups given their frozen positions.
The owners of the female Siberian husky, Ticqua, Jane and Christopher Gentile of Northbridge don’t believe their dog could have been responsible for this and suggested another dog had attacked and killed the pups. Their attorney, Carmine Gentile, said no one witnessed the attack and the Gentiles believe the kennel could be covering for another dog. The husky is reported to have been quarantined for 45 days after the incident and is said to have no history of hostility.
Ticqua was observed by professional dog trainer Bob Clark at the request of the Gentile’s attorney. Clark testified he placed Ticqua in several stressful situations and saw no sign of aggression. Clark testified some huskies are known to have a high prey drive and are known to be great escape artists, but stressed every dog is different.
Kennel owner Bob Gibson was subpoenaed Bob Gibson said that when the husky broke the latch on her kennel it loosened the other kennel and allowed Odin and Graham to get out. He said, “Ticqua was found outside with Graham.”
Michael Gibson, who was on site during the attack, was subpoenaed but failed to show.
Northbridge Animal Control Office Dan Chauvin testified when he visited Ticqua during his investigation he expected to find an aggressive dog and what he found was the opposite. “The dog was yielding to anything I asked and was 100% cooperative,” said Chauvin. He testified Ticqua was not licensed at the time but was up to date on all of her shots.
Chauvin said this was on the kennel, “What I call the three Ps: Procedure, protocol and presence; all three of those failed that day.” He then went on to say, “The Demers dogs death is irrelevant.” When questioned on this statement by the Demers attorney Chauvin reiterated, “Whether a dog killed another dog is irrelevant.” When asked by the Demers attorney if he knew the states definition of dangerous dog Chauvin replied, “No.”
The Demers daughter Ariel said to the committee, “We don’t want the dog put down. We are just looking for restrictions. A muzzle in public and not allowed to kennel. We don’t want to destroy another family like ours.”
After the hearing was closed the selectmen discussed the matter. Member Daniel Nolan felt it was reasonable to place restrictions on the husky and said he was leaning towards nuisance.
“Very emotional – tragic that the Poodle and Chihuahua were killed by the husky. But no one saw the attack. I would go with nuisance dog. I would like to place blame on the kennel. It is his responsibility to protect animal under his care,” said member Charles Ampagoomian, Jr.
Chair Thomas Melia said there was no direct evidence, although the circumstantial evidence was there. “Maybe the two small dogs attacked the husky…no way I would deem a dangerous dog.”
The board voted 5-0 to deem the husky a nuisance.
The Demers were taken back by the demeanor of the Northbridge Animal Control Officer. “A man whose job is to protect animals considers two deaths irrelevant? He had no composure, was disrespectful, and nasty,” said Brenda Demers.
“Shame on the BOS Northbridge, they did a huge disservice to their townspeople. Brenda and I will be the first ones to stand by and help the next person who has issues with this dog,” said Roger Demers.
“If two small dogs were put in front of her (Ticqua) can they fully assure us it wouldn’t happen again? The town is there to protect and serve not worry about hurt feeling of someone they may know,” said Brenda Demers. “We are sickened that they admitted right there the dog wasn’t licensed but still didn’t even fine the family. We’re disgusted by the entire situation,” said Brenda.
A lawsuit against Gibson’s Natural Pet Resort and the Gentiles is pending in Worcester Superior Court.