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Amy the Boxer Spared, Faces Requirements for Fence, Leash and Training

The Wenham animal control offers has issued his decision after a hearing last month

A Boxer dog that attacked a woman and her Pug in Wenham last fall can no longer be walked in its own neighborhood, must use a different type of leash and have locks on the fence.

For the owner of the Boxer, Amy, those are things she said has already done.

"I feel that it is a just decision," said Susan Lawson. "I accept his decision."

The victim of the attack, Tracy Conley, said that she fears that there could be another incident with Amy.

"I'm disappointed, I'm really disappointed." Conley said.

The decision came from Stephen Kavanagh, the animal control officer in Wenham. The decision can be appealed in Ipswich District Court and Conley said she has not decided whether she will appeal.

"I have been trying to decide what to do," she said, adding she plans to collect her thoughts this week. "There's this piece of me that just wants it to be done."

The decision is dated Jan. 31 and was received by both women last week. The same letter was sent to both women and is attached to this story as a PDF.

The detail of the October attack was outlined in a hearing last month at Wenham Town Hall.

Kavanagh said he determined that Amy was "a nuisance dog" and did attack Conley and her 20 pound Pug.

Amy did not bite Conley and her dog purposely, Kavanagh said, and he plans "to continue to monitor the progress and safeguards" that have been put in place.

A total of five restrictions were outlined in the decision, including limits that Amy not be walked in the Lord's Hill neighborhood, where the two women live, she get a more secure leash and restraint, locks should go on all of Amy's fences, brackets be installed on low areas of the fence and a licensed dog trainer will conduct training with Amy.

Many of the reccommendations had already been implemented by the hearing date in early January and in an interview this week Lawson said that all of the reccomendations have been adopted.

"Everything was done well before the hearing, on my own," Lawson said.

One of Conley's big questions is what will happen if there is another incident involving Amy.

"I still think it could happen again," Conley said. "The dog could get out."

Michelle Bailey February 14, 2013 at 11:26 AM
So the nuisance dog, Amy, can walk in your neighborhood, along the cannal, and on the trails on the North Shore. These restrictions do not specify fence height nor define extensive training. What is a more secure leash (a muzzle, a shorter leash, what?) How will we know if Ms. Lawson complied when these terms are missing? I hope the Board of Selectmen reject this finding at their meeting on Tues, Feb. 19.
meg hosler February 14, 2013 at 03:49 PM
My heart goes out to Ms. Lawson and Amy, however I have to agree with Mrs Conley on this. We had to put a dog down years ago for biting. Nothing that required stitches, but skin was broken. That was more than enough. He was a big, strong dog and I wasn't about to take a chance on him not biting a babysitter or one of my children's friends. It is heartbreaking, but how much worse would the Lawson family feel if Amy got loose and killed a small dog or severely bit a child, even if it wasn't on purpose? I love dogs and own four of them! But they are animals, not people. Sometimes we forget this.
Jennifer Flynn February 14, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Yes, seems like a poor decision. DId the victim (Ms. Conley) get to weigh in on the decision? I can't imagine feeling scared to take a walk in my own neighborhood!!!!! GULP. Wait! I just read he can't be walked in his neighborhood....is he in mine!?!??! And what if he bites a small child? never mind the physical harm - what about the emotional scarring from being ATTACKED? I hope this decision is revisited.
Kristin February 14, 2013 at 10:53 PM
This decision is shocking and irresponsible. Mrs. Conley's dog could have been walked by one of her children that day. What if her son or daughter was the one who needed stitches? Would Mr. Kavanaugh's decision be the same? From what I've heard there have been other instances of Amy attacking - enough is enough - something need to be done!

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