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A dog's fate divides them

Neighbors react to euthanasia order

June 24, 2010
STURBRIDGE — Residents of the Sturbridge Hills condominium complex are divided over the Board of Selectmen's recent ruling that a neighborhood should be put to death.

On Monday, the board unanimously supported the recommendation of Police Chief Thomas Ford to "humanly euthanize," an 18-month-old Labrador/pit bull mix named Pete after approximately half a dozen calls for service regarding the dog came in to the Sturbridge Police Department between late summer last year and earlier this month.

Owners Bruce and Yaska Pote contend that miscommunication among police officers and mixed directives given to the family are what led to the hearing, during which Ford referred to Pete as "a nuisance animal; a dog that has been deemed to be vicious and dangerous."

An official order was issued Tuesday by Town Administrator Shaun Suhoski stating "the dog be 'humanly euthanized' at the end of 15 days from the date of this notice or upon the conclusion of an appeal you file under [Massachusetts General Law chapter 140, section 157]."

The order further states that pending an appeal, "the dog shall remain in the custody of the Sturbridge Police Department, or its designee, and that at no time shall the dog be returned within the borders of the town of Sturbridge."

The Potes' attorney Charles Proctor said at the conclusion of Monday's hearing that he intended to pursue the appeal process in district court. Proctor did not return a telephone message seeking comment Wednesday.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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