MINUTES OF THE FRANKLIN SELECTBOARD

Friday July 19, 2019 @ 7:00 P.M.

TOWN CLERK’S OFFICE

 

                                            DOG HEARING

 

Members Present: Peter Magnant, Yvon Dandurand, Brooks Sturtevant and Andy Godin.

 

Guests: Dennis Demar, Animal Control; Chris Ferland, Health Officer, PJ LaPorte, UPS driver;  and John Vorse, dog owner.

 

Peter Magnant called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and Peter swore in all guests giving testimony

 

Peter reviewed the procedures/rules for the hearing and the process for how the hearing would work: both parties will have a turn giving testimony and asking questions then the board will excuse both parties and will deliberate their decision; then both parties will be notified of the board’s decision. Everyone in attendance was introduced.

 

Peter read aloud the detailed complaint received from PJ LaPorte dated July 19, 2019 (initial complaint was July 16, 2019):

 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at around 6:00 p.m. I (PJ LaPorte) was delivering a package at 2986 Morses Line Road, I had sounded the horn and backed into the driveway, I heard a noise in the repair garage and knocked on the side entry door only to hear a dog bark on the inside. Titus then charged through the doggy door and immediately started attacking me. I was forced to use my diad between myself and the dog’s mouth, Titus continued biting and attacking until John came out of the garage and pulled him away. I sustained puncture wounds top and bottom of my right wrist and an abrasion to my left thumb. I immediately drove to the Northwestern Med ER for treatment. This has been the worst sustained dog attack I have experienced in 39 years as a UPS driver. My wounds could have been much more severe if not for the diad in hand and dog training.  This incident should be treated as such. What if a regular customer had knocked? Thank you for reading this complaint. PJ LaPorte

 

Peter also presented the animal bite report from Northwestern Medical Center as well as pictures.

 

PJ restated points from his complaint and noted that he has never had an attack like this before. He stated he is very concerned for anyone that goes on to Mr. Vorse’s property as Titus was very strong & quick. The dog did knock Mr. LaPorte to the driveway and that is how Mr. Vorse found him, with Titus on guard.

 

John Vorse, dog owner, recited his version of the incident that occurred on his property with his dog Titus. Mr. Vorse stated he was not outside to witness the initial attack as he was in the garage with his son and the dog. Mr. Vorse noted he did not hear the horn but that Mr. LaPorte has honked upon arriving several times in the past so he may have.  Mr. Vorse heard a door knock then a door open, he looked over and saw the UPS truck. It all happened that fast, then Titus barked and was out the doggy door before John could speak to him. Discussion was had on whether the side entry door was opened or not or just knocked on by Mr. LaPorte.

 

Mr. Vorse noted that he had recently received comments on how well behave Titus is by someone that works with dogs. Mr. Vorse said that Titus came from Cavalier Kennels in West Enosburg and that the dog has had some police dog training. 

 

Yvon questioned how long Mr. Vorse has had the dog; Mr. Vorse responded a little over 2 years, the dog is about 2 years old.

 

Dennis Demar questioned if he stopped by the property as a customer, if he would have any issues with the dog. Mr. Vorse doesn’t think there would be any problems; he stated he has not had other problems with the dog and customers or anyone else visiting the property. He doesn’t know what was going on with Titus that day or what he is going to do with him going forward after getting more information; he can’t trust him around. Mr. Vorse stated Titus is gun trained and may have thought Mr. LaPorte’s diad was a gun.

 

Mr. LaPorte stated he was on the ground and hollering, he stated he must have been in shock, when Mr. Vorse came out and grabbed the dog. He was worried about the other dog. Mr. LaPorte remembers holding his wrist because he didn’t know how bad his injuries were at the time. Mr. LaPorte stated that Mr. Vorse went into the house to get him a towel for his arm and that he was asking Mr. Vorse for the dogs papers.

 

It has been confirmed that Titus is current on his rabies through May 21, 2021. Copies have been provided to Mr. LaPorte and are on file with the Town Clerk’s Office.

 

Mr. LaPorte restated his concern on the viciousness of the attack.

 

Yvon would like to know what Mr. Vorse’s plan is for the dog. Mr. Vorse stated he is normally in the house at night or with him in the garage during the day; he has also been on the back porch, going forward Titus will remain in the house during business hours. Once business hours end at 6:00 p.m., Titus will be allowed out into the yard with his electric collar on. Mr. Vorse also suggested having a drop box by the road to allow for later delivery drop-offs.  The perimeter of the electric fence was discussed.

 

Peter stated that the dog, Titus, meets the definition of a Vicious Dog in the Town of Franklin’s Dogs and Wolf Hybrids Ordinance and Leash Law.  Peter stated there are a few options the Town could take with this complaint and one is putting the dog down, that is how serious this matter is. Peter reiterated that there cannot be another incident with Titus.

 

Mr. LaPorte commented that the dog is a liability.

 

Peter advised Mr. Vorse that if the Town was to receive any medical bills from this dog incident, that he would be responsible for them.

 

The hearing was closed at 7:30; Mr. LaPorte and Mr. Vorse were thanked and exited the meeting.

 

The board moved into deliberations on a motion made by Brooks/Andy, all in favor.

 

Motion made by Brooks/Yvon to exit deliberations at 8:10 p.m., all in favor.

 

The board has set the following guidelines to be strictly adhered to:

·        Titus must be harnessed at all times on a fixed chain unless he is inside the owners home

·        “Beware of Dog” signs must be posted and visible for all people to see when entering the property

·        The doggy door into the auto mechanic shop must be removed

·        Should the Town of Franklin receive another complaint regarding Titus attacking people or putting people at risk, Titus will be impounded by Animal Control and euthanized immediately.

 

All conditions must be met by July 26, 2019 and evidence of such must be provided to the Town for review. 

 

Peter has asked Yvon to consult with the Town’s attorney on the letter the board wishes to send with the above requirements. 

 

Brooks will draft a letter for the attorney with the Selectboard’s conditions.

 

The Selectboard will review the Dogs and Wolf Hybrids Ordinance and Leash Law at the next regular board meeting

 

Chris Ferland would like the Dogs and Wolf Hybrids Ordinance and Leash Law included in next year’s Town Report. 

 

Brooks/Andy made the motion to adjourn the meeting, all in favor. Meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Sara Rainville, Assistant Town Clerk

July 23, 2019

 

These minutes are not official until approved at the Select board’s next regular meeting.

These minutes were approved at the August 7, 2019 Selectboard meeting