Save our dog's life
  • Petitioned The Town of Reading, Massachusetts

This petition was delivered to:

The Town of Reading, Massachusetts

Save our dog's life

    1. Amanda Oppedisano
    2. Petition by

      Amanda Oppedisano

      Reading, MA

I am reopening this petition because the town of Reading, Massachusetts is now saying that we have to waive our rights to appeal in order to get them to vote for permanent restraint. The Swansons' attended the meeting on March 15, 2010 where the committee voted to have the doberman, Atticus Swanson, deemed vicious and to put him under permanent restraint. The town of Reading is choosing the method of blackmail by trying to make the Swansons appeal their rights or they will still consider banishment or "destruction", and those definitions are below. Please continue to try and help our dog. He is still in danger because the town of Reading refuses to play fair.

 

Right now, there is a young Doberman Pinscher named Atticus fighting for his life.

Atticus, a current canine resident of the town of Reading, Massachusetts, was involved in an unfortunate incident on Friday, February 10, 2012 and is now in danger of being named a "vicious" dog and could potentially lose his life.

There has never before been a legal incident regarding Atticus and Animal Control. Now they want to make a giant leap between Atticus not having a record and naming him "vicious," potentially destroying him.

We would like to state that the male Doberman Pinscher, Atticus (4 years old), owned by Lisa Swanson, is not and has never been a vicious dog. An unfortunate accident happened on February 10, 2012 in which Atticus got out the house and bit a woman who was crossing the street outside of the Swansons' property. This occured when one of his owners, Amanda Swanson, had accidentally left the front door open and was outside in the driveway. He got to the woman, bit her and retreated, however when he saw Amanda looking nervous and shouting "Oh my God," he went back and jumped at her again. When he was jumping up Amanda had reached him and corrected the behavior and he immediately listened.

Atticus, being a Doberman, is a protective dog, and while Amanda Swanson was outside at the time, he viewed this as protecting her from the woman. Unfortunately, dogs do not reason like humans and understand property lines in the same way. While the owners regret the accident, it was not a vicious attack. As soon as Amanda realized what was happening, she rushed to get the dog and quickly got a hold of his collar and got him under control immediately. As soon as Atticus' master corrected him, he ceased attempting to jump up on the woman.

The injuries sustained by the woman include scratches from Atticus' nais when he jumped, a bite mark on her arm, and bruising which is common of a dog bite. The injuries indicate that the bites were NOT of a vicious nature (where the dog would have maintained oral contact) because the breaking of the skin was limited only to the exact puncture mark of the dog's tooth.

On Monday, February 13th, Ron Burns, Animal Control Officer for Reading, Massachusetts, visited the residence of the Swansons and the dog Atticus. He informed Mr. Stephen Swanson that he was not worried about the situation and that he was issuing 10 days of quarantine for Atticus as a minimum consequence because the dog did not have a record with the town, and Animal Control had never before had to visit the Swanson residence due to Atticus' behavior (or at all, for that matter). Again, in Atticus' four and a half years of life and living in the same neighborhood, there has never been an issue for which Animal Control has had to be called.

During Atticus' four and a half years of life, many people have visited and stayed over at the Swansons' residence and will be writing letters of reference as to the dogs' character and distinctly NON-vicious nature. The Swansons have always taken precautions to be responsible dog owners, including putting Atticus in training classes and day camps at K-9 Top Performance in Reading, MA as well as Fortunate K9 in New Hampshire, where they worked extensively with Atticus on obedience training as well as socialization with other dogs.

Atticus is a fun and loving dog. He is an excellent family companion to his four human household members, his favorite activities including cuddling (both with the household members and their household guests). Even as I sit here now, writing this, Atticus is next to me, his head calmly resting on my lap while he watches me type. There is now a motion to get Atticus deemed a vicious dog. If Atticus is deemed vicious in a hearing in the town of Reading, the consequences will be far too severe a punishment for what actually happened. The town will either order him:

- Permanently Restrained: This means that Atticus will no longer be allowed to leave the property unless consistently leashed and muzzled. Even ON the property, if Atticus were to be outside, he would not be able to run, play, and expend any sort of energy, as he would have to be in a kennel-like structure with a covered top. This means that not even the Swansons' fully fenced-in yard will be available to him and will severely affect his quality of life.

- Banished: This would mean that Atticus would no longer be able to live in the town. As moving is not a viable option for the Swansons in this economy, this means that Atticus would be permanently separated from the family he loves, and the Swanson family would permanently lose their canine companion.

- "Destroyed": Unfortunately, this one speaks for itself. The use of the term "destroyed" does not even begin to take into consideration the fact that Atticus (and all dogs) is a sentient being with a range of emotions that would rival any human counterpart. The idea that a dog could be murdered in the prime of his life for a non-vicious attack (where a human who caused the same injury to another human would not even have to consider capital punishment) is unforgivable.

Atticus is not only fighting to maintain his standing in the town of Reading, Massachusetss; he is fighting for his life.

Please help us fight for this dog, who does not have a voice of his own and merely thought he was doing the right thing by protecting his master and her property.

Please sign below if you are willing to fight for Atticus' life and the quality with which he lives it.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Thank you!

      Amanda Oppedisano
      Petition Organizer

      We would like to thank you all so much for your support during all of this! We appreciate every signature and comment made. You have no idea how much it means to our family. Thank you.

    2. Atticus deemed vicious

      Amanda Oppedisano
      Petition Organizer

      Atticus was deemed a vicious dog last night and he now has to live under the requirements of permanent restraint along with some additional requirements. The meeting in the Town of Reading was extremely sketchy. There are a lot of politics going on here. This is not the end of this. We will not let our dogs quality of life be taken away from him. Good news is that it is not the worst option. There is always a bright side and we are choosing to look at it.

    3. Reached 1,000 signatures
    4. Quick note

      Amanda Oppedisano
      Petition Organizer

      I was just reading through the comments and a couple of you have said that he has been separated from us for ten days and that is actually not correct. What we mean by him being "quarantined" for ten days is that he was not allowed to leave the house and when he did go outside in our yard it had to be on a leash and accompanied by an adult so he was with us. I just want you to have all the facts so I figured I would say that quickly.

    5. Reached 250 signatures
    6. Why we are doing this petition

      Amanda Oppedisano
      Petition Organizer

      We would like to stress to all of you who have signed that we do not blame the woman who was attacked, by any means. She was a victim here. We just do not believe the punishment they are suggesting fits the crime. We would love the opportunity to apologize to her for this whole accident. Basically what I'm trying to say is that we understand where she is coming from and we are not trying to make her feel like we are not sorry this happened, but Atticus is NOT a vicious dog. This petition is here to prove that he does not deserve the severity of this punishment and with the help of our friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who knows the details of the incident, it is being proven. It has been wonderful seeing people come together and help take a stand. Thank you again for signing. We cannot express with words how much it means to us.

    7. We've reached 103 signatures! Thank you everyone!

      Amanda Oppedisano
      Petition Organizer

      You've all helped so much! I can't thank you enough! Keep writing comments, especially if you know us and Atticus! Thank you!

    8. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • DEB DIBIASE READING, MA
      • over 2 years ago

      I WENT THRU A SITUATION LIKE THIS IN 2006 I KNOW THAT THEY HAVE REVAMPED THE PROCESS SINCE THEN BUT THEY HAVE THE POWER I HAD TO OBTAIN COUNCEL IN THIS AND WE WON BECAUSE THE TOWN WAS NOT FOLLOWING FACTS OR LAW SO MY ADVISE IS TO WATCH OUT IF YOU NEED COUNCEL ON THIS I KNOW A VERY GOOD PERSON YOU CAN CALL ME AT 781-944-0308 THATS MY OFFICE # GOOD LUCK

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Stewart Long MERRITT ISLAND, FL
      • over 2 years ago

      The dog should not be punished. It was doing what it thought it should do instinctually. If there is any penalty it should be levied against the owner for accidentally leaving the door open so that the dog thought that it needed to protect the owner. This is what Dobermans do ...............protect their owner.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rachel Faulkner WILMINGTON, MA
      • over 2 years ago

      If it was a person who bit this women at most thier punishment would be jail. Why belittle a dog with such a critical judgement?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Katherine Thompson WORCESTER, MA
      • over 2 years ago

      If this dog actually bit this woman, he could have taken her hand right off. It sounds like he was just playing like a dog should. Let him live.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Colleen Payette WHITE BEAR LAKE, MN
      • over 2 years ago

      Atticus is not a viscious dog, in this instance he was acting to protect his owner and reacted to her distress and comand. My husband had Alaskan Malmutes they were trained by him for protection as he was Blind and had been mugged. There was a day I left a door unlocked and someone walked into the front room of our house. The dog heard the noise and ran into the front room. The next thing my husband heard was someone yelling "get this dog off me" "Lobeau" had him pin against a wall his front legs on his shoulders. The person was going door to door passing out religious information, and entered our home because no one came to the door when he knocked? My husband left him pinned by the dog for several minutes while he check if anything had been stolen.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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