Marion Selectmen deem dog dangerous

Oct 16, 2018

Marion Selectmen deemed Stella, a 130-pound female mastiff, a dangerous dog and restricted her future interactions with the public after she reportedly attacked and killed another dog. 

Jennifer MacDonald, Stella’s owner, appeared before the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, Oct. 16, to defend her pet.

An eyewitness report states that the incident took place on the Sippican School playground after MacDonald and Stella approached Susan Hagan, who was with her Havanese dog Winnie.

At that point, Stella clamped down on Winnie with her mouth and did not let go until an unnamed bystander helped separate the animals. Winnie was taken to the vet and later died of her injuries. 

In a second incident, Stella reportedly nipped a 10-pound Chinese crested which then was treated for a small lesion at the Mattapoisett Animal Hospital. 

Hagan was not present at the meeting, but her mother appeared before the board and delivered her message.

“Finding out that the dog attacked another dog before Winnie,” she said, reading from her daughter’s letter. “It makes me so angry I can’t even begin to describe it.”

MacDonald apologized for both incidents, adding that she feels terrible about the occurrence on the playground.

“I don’t know who that dog was on that park,” she said. “I’ve never seen her like that, and the dog we know is the polar opposite.”

Animal Control Officer Susan Connor expressed concerns about the circumstances that lead to the incident. 

“I don’t believe that dogs belong on playgrounds,” said Connor. “That is a very dangerous situation for any child.” 

Chair Norman Hills recommended that the board deem Stella as dangerous and impose certain restrictions following concerns of public safety. 

“A 130-pound dog is very powerful,” said Hills. “It’s beyond what a lot of people in this room can restrain if it tries to go.”

Hill’s recommendation was passed unanimously by the board. Stella must now be securely confined when at home and humanely muzzled when leaving the residence. Additionally, MacDonald must have proof of insurance for Stella. 

MacDonald said she was in the process of paying for Hagan’s veterinary bill, which came to about $2,300.