Clerk magistrate: Vicious dogs should go

Saturday June 30, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A clerk magistrate has backed the Pittsfield police chief’s order to get rid of three dogs implicated in an attack on a 9-year-old boy earlier this month.

On Thursday, a hearing -- not open to the public -- was held in Central Berkshire District Court and ended with a magistrate determining the three American Staffordshire terriers were "vicious" and would have to be "restrained, removed or disposed of as necessary."

The owners had appealed a June 13 order by Pittsfield Police Chief Michael J. Wynn that deemed the dogs "vicious."

According to police, the dogs attacked Perrin Petell on June 11 as he and his mother, Jessyca, entered a common hallway of a multi-family home at Ed ward and Malcolm avenues.

The dogs burst out and dragged him down the stairs, according to police.

Perrin suffered bite wounds totaling 35 tooth punctures and lost part of his scalp. He was treated at Berkshire Med ical Center and released.

The dogs owners, Lori Rohde and Adam Pollack, both 42, told The Eagle that only one of the three dogs -- a 2-year-old named Diablo -- was involved in the attack and that the other two, 6-month old Zeus and 4-year-old Cleopatra, who just gave birth to a litter of puppies, were innocent.

Other witnesses differed on this, with one saying all three attacked the boy.

Rohde said when the door was "flung open" Diablo got spooked and was trying to "protect his home and family." All three dogs were leashed at the time but broke away, according to Rohde.

Thursday’s decision doesn’t necessarily signal the end of the case. The owners can appeal the magistrate’s decision to Judge Fredric D. Rutberg.

If that fails, Rohde and Pollack could be forced to have the dogs euthanized, but there may be another option.

In at least one prior case involving a dog being deemed vicious by city public safety officials, the dog’s life was spared after being given to a rescue organization.

In 2002, Barney, a 140-pound malamute-shepherd mix was voluntarily given up by his owners to a New Jersey-based animal shelter in order to prevent the dog from being destroyed.

Then Pittsfield Police Chief Anthony J. Riello ordered Barney disposed of after the dog attacked a police officer and a 12-year-old girl, according to Eagle records.

Rohde and Pollack’s dogs are currently being held at the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter in Pittsfield. The dogs were up-to-date on their rabies shots and according to their owners have never bitten anyone before.

Rohde did not immediately return a phone call.


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