Dog's Owner Unclear
Haverhill, MA - An aggressive, unmuzzled pit bull got loose in a neighborhood and attacked a woman who was standing outside her Wilson Street apartment, ripping the skin on her knee. The victim -- identified by police as Therese Tomarchio, 26 Wilson St. -- refused treatment at the scene and told police that a friend would take her to the hospital. The dog was initially restrained by neighbors then held by the police. The animal was later released to its owner's family.
There have been several pit bull attacks in the Merrimack Valley in the past year. A 24-year-old woman was mauled by her 2-year-old pit bull inside her Quimby Street home in Haverhill 10 months ago. In Lawrence, there were two attacks last year. A police officer shot two pit bulls that were attacking their owners outside a house on Lowell Street in Lawrence, and two pit bulls attacked another dog and nearly killed it near the corner of Phillips and Salem streets.
Officer Lawrence Newman said he has been attacked and bitten twice by pit bulls while on duty, once while on a bicycle. "The sooner we can solve this issue of pit bulls, the better off our city will be," he said. Newman arrived at the scene Tuesday night and saw that the dog was being restrained by neighbors who were grasping its collar, he said. Police and firefighters got a rope around the dog and forced it into the back seat of a police cruiser, Newman said.
The dog's owner will likely be cited for owning an unmuzzled pit bull. City law requires pit bull owners to muzzle and leash their dogs in public, and can be charged a $100 fine for the first offense and not more than $300 for following violations. The state has considered banning pit bulls but faced stiff resistance from the breed's owners, who say it is better to control violent dogs than to target a specific breed. But as one can see, "controlling" violent dogs is impractical.