Back to Drawing Board for Selectmen After Judge Rescinds Decision to Call Dogs ‘Dangerous’

Get daily Westford text alerts by subscribing here.

Behind closed doors, on July 9, selectmen decided to reopen a public hearing to determine whether a pair of dogs belonging to Haley Gallagher are a nuisance or dangerous. The action is in response to an Ayer District Court ruling  that rescinded a notice of decision and order, and a notice of violation made by the Westford Board of Selectmen.

The notices required the euthanasia of a pitbull mix named Luca and a Labrador mix named Windy living, until last month, at 10 Wilson Farm Road with Gallagher. The dogs mauled a toy poodle belonging to Polina Kuklina to death. Kuklina and her family live at 16 Wilson Farm Road.

Gallagher defied a May 2 ruling by selectmen to deliver the dogs by May 3 to a Westford animal control officer. The plan called for a hired animal expert to observe the dogs for two weeks and then make a recommendation about their fate based on their behavior.

Instead, a friend of Gallagher’s said he brought the dogs to a home in New Bedford. The dogs allegedly escaped from the New Bedford home. Their whereabouts remain unknown, according to Town Manager Jodi Ross.

In her June 21st ruling, Judge Margaret Guzman of Ayer District Court rescinded the selectmen’s ruling, saying the hearing failed to establish sufficient support for the order for euthanasia. Guzman said the board reacted strongly to the neighbors’ impassioned complaints and should have relied more on facts.

“The Board jumped from a request for evaluation to an order of Euthanasia,” wrote Guzman in her ruling. “That process was flawed, and the decision can not stand.”

To watch the entire selectmen’s meeting, visit westfordcat.org.