NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – There was a huge outpouring of support for a dog deemed dangerous by the Ware Police Chief. Tuesday night the owner and town officials came to an agreement that will save Dino.
Close to one hundred people filled the Ware Board of Selectmen’s meeting as the board considered whether a restaurant owner’s dog was vicious and dangerous. Dino has bitten as many as twelve people on his owner’s property, despite graphic signs warning people.
Ware Police Chief Dennis Healy told 22News, “My personal belief is that a dog that has bitten as many as twelve people is a vicious dangerous dog.” However, Dino’s supporters say it’s not that simple; the people getting bitten are trespassing on Steve Kolenovic’s property, and ignoring the signs saying “Beware of the Guard Dog.”
Phil McManus of Ware said, “A dog stops a guy from breaking onto property and stealing something. ‘Let’s kill the dog?’ That’s not what this town should be like.”
The Board of Selectmen gave the owner two weeks to fully enclose Dino’s pen behind his restaurant. Kolenovic said Dino, despite his size, is not dangerous. “Dino’s not vicious. They can see he’s not vicious. He does not deserve this. He was only doing his job.”
Dino supporters said they hope to have Dino’s fence finished in two days instead of two weeks.
Massachusetts is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites, which means if you’re a homeowner and your dog bites someone you are going to be liable. There are some exceptions including if someone trespasses, torments the dog or abuses the dog, but you can also be liable if your dog jumps on someone or trips someone.
Attorney James Winston told 22News that your insurance can also differ depending on the dog. “Types of breeds are looked at differently than others and some won’t extend insurance coverage to those particular breeds.” Some states have a policy where after the first dog bite they are put on probation.
22News will continue to cover developments in this story and report them to you.