Tuesday August 7, 2012

PITTSFIELD - Two of the three dogs implicated in an attack on a 9-year-old boy in Pittsfield two months ago will be relocated to a private residence in Schenectady, N.Y., according to a settlement between the owners and the city.

The third dog was euthanized on Friday morning, according to court documents. The dogs' owners, Adam Pollack and Lori Rohde of Pittsfield, had agreed to euthanize Diablo during a court hearing last week.

A hearing on the fate of the two dogs took place Monday in Central Berkshire District Court after the city looked at new information on Zeus and Cleopatra that had been compiled by Pollack and Rohde.

The three dogs are all American Staffordshire terriers.

Under terms of the settlement, Zeus and Cleopatra will be relocated from Pollack and Rohde's home in Pittsfield to a residence at 652 Orchard St. in Schenectady, a single-family home. The identity of the home's residents could not be determined as of presstime.

Pollack and Rohde have also enrolled Zeus in the Canine Good Citizen Program in Scotia, N.Y., that is administered by the Animal Protective Foundation, a full-service humane society that accepts all dogs regardless of their circumstances.

Both dogs are required to be collared and leashed at all times when they are in public, according to the settlement. Zeus must also be muzzled. While in Schenectady, the dogs will be contained in a fenced-in yard.


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If either party alleges that the other has failed to comply with the terms of the settlement, an enforcement hearing can be scheduled three days after both sides have been notified in writing.

According to police, the three dogs attacked Perrin Petell on June 11 as he and his mother, Jessyca, entered the common hallway of a multi-family home at Edward and Malcolm avenues. The boy was dragged down the front stairs and into the yard, suffered 35 tooth punctures and lost part of his scalp.

Following Monday's hearing, Petell's grandmother, Cheryl Powers, said her family disagreed with the terms of the settlement. Her grandson is still in therapy, Powers said, and has had nightmares about the attack.

" We love animals," said Powers, who has owned dogs herself. "But once an animal has attacked, it's going to attack again."

Powers said she wasn't sure if the family will take any further legal action.

"I don't know if we can do anything more," she said. " Dogs seem to have more rights than human beings."

Two days after the incident took place, Police Chief Michael J. Wynn declared the three dogs " vicious" and ordered that all three be "restrained, removed or disposed of as necessary," according to state law.

He said the original information compiled by the city wasn't as clear on Zeus and Cleopatra as it had been on Diablo. Based on the new information, which included input from the city's Animal Control Officer, Wynn said the city agreed to the terms of the settlement.

"It's a settlement, so it's a compromise," he said. "It's a compromise we'll have to live with."

The agreement also stipulated that Cleopatra no longer be labeled a "vicious" dog.

Pollack and Rohde left court quickly following the hearing, but their attorney, Stacy Elin Rossi, said they were in agreement with the terms of the settlement.

"It's what they wanted from the beginning," Rossi said.