Foxborough Selectmen Deem Dog on Fairway Lane Dangerous After Bite Incident
The Bullmastiff must now wear a muzzle whenever he leaves the Fairway Lane property after biting an adult male in February.
Foxborough’s Board of Selectmen deemed “Rufus,” a Bullmastiff on Fairway Lane, dangerous following a biting incident in February that sent an adult male to Brigham and Women’s Urgent Care at Patriot Place.
The decision came following a public hearing with Foxborough Animal Control Officer Sue Thibedeau and the dog’s owner, David Seerman.
During the hearing, Thibedeau reported to selectmen that she was notified by Brigham and Women’s Urgent Care in February that an adult male had been bitten by a dog on Feb. 21.
That dog, Rufus, has belonged to David and Donna Seerman for 18 months and lives with them at their Fairway Lane home.
“Seerman was out walking Rufus when he did bite the person,” Thibedeau said. “The dog was on lead at the time. Seerman usually maintains a distance between Rufus and people as [the dog] can be reactive when outside the home. On this occasion, [Seerman] had stopped to visit with someone and the person that was bitten had gotten closer than Seerman would usually allow to happen.”
The bite, according to Thibedeau, was “a single, superficial bite of the upper arm.”
Rufus has no previous history of biting, according to Thibedeau, who also contacted the dog’s veterinarian.
“They do not have any warnings on his record to indicate they have any issues with [Rufus],” Thibedeau said. “When I went to the [Seerman’s] home [Rufus] was mild mannered and not aggressive.”
As a result of the incident, Thibedeau recommended to selectmen the dog be muzzled when walked off the property and the leash does not exceed 3-feet. Seerman agreed with the animal control officer’s recommendation, reporting to selectmen they had received a custom-made muzzle for Rufus Tuesday and would begin the dog’s training with it immediately. In addition to the muzzle and leash requirements, Seerman said he always uses two collars and two leashes for Rufus.
“Belt and suspenders kind of thing,” said Seerman. “He has been very receptive to that. I will continue that practice also.”
Selectmen Mark Sullivan and Virginia “Ginny” Coppola expressed concern for children in the neighborhood, citing to Mansfield’s recent issue with the dog, “Milo,” which Mansfield selectmen ordered to be euthanized after two vicious attacks against a six-year-old boy in January and a 16-year-old girl in March. The boy required over 400 stitches as a result of the attack.
“I would just caution that if the dog bites … I would really be concerned with the dog being around any child under 18,” Sullivan said. “I wouldn’t want to see anything come to that level. … We just saw it happen in a neighboring community twice and it was not a very good reflection on the dog owner or the board … just be very careful about that.”
“My routine is as I walk down the driveway if I see people walking down the street I just turnaround and walk the dog in the backyard or something,” Seerman. “If we are on the walk and I hear kids playing in the yards or things like that I will either cross the street or take a different route.”
Coppola, who disclosed to the Town Clerk’s Office prior to Tuesday’s hearing that she lives on Fairway Lane, added if Seerman was comfortable with the muzzle and short leash as a valid solution than she was too.
“There are young children in the area and that was one of my concerns but if the muzzling is permanent with the short leash, and [Seerman] feels comfortable with this than I’m comfortable with it,” Coppola said.