By MAUREEN DOHERTY
NORTH READING — Michael and Kaysea Baker, 103 Main St., Unit 12, have appealed the Select Board’s order to have their dog Floyd euthanized to Woburn District Court.
They have retained attorney Jeremy M. Cohen of Boston Dog Lawyers in Swampscott to represent them.
Back on August 21, the Select Board voted 4-0 with one member absent declaring Floyd to be a dangerous dog based on oral and written testimony provided by the NRPD, Animal Control Officer Jerry Berg, the Woburn Animal Control Officer and several people whose pets or themselves had been bitten by the dog.
The most serious charge against Floyd, a black mouth cur rescued by the Bakers who is estimated to be about 2 1/2 years old, was that he had killed a 14-year-old dog owned by Jessica Darfoor of Andover. Darfoor had encountered Floyd in the parking lot of Pet Smart in Woburn back on Jan. 6, 2023 where she was taking her dog, Mr. Pope, for a grooming appointment. Fearing for her dog’s safety, Darfoor was carrying Mr. Pope when Floyd ripped him from her arms in the parking lot. The dog died from the severe injuries inflicted by Floyd later that day.
In the two other incidents cited, Floyd had attacked a dog named Beagle owned by a fellow resident in the Crescent Village Mobile Home Park at 103 Main St. last September and the dog’s owner sustained dog bites on her hand and finger while trying to separate them.
The third attack occurred in late July, also in the mobile home park. when Floyd ran into the yard of his neighbors and attacked a 14-year-old German Shepherd named Wendy who could not get away due to her arthritis, her owner testified. Wendy needed staples in her ear and suffered puncture woulds on her head and neck.
The written order by the Select Board required written notification to the town indicating that Floyd had been euthanized within seven days of receiving the order. The Bakers also had the right to appeal the order within 10 days to Woburn District Court, in which case the Select Board’s order stated that Floyd must be turned over to the town to be humanely impounded for the duration of the appeal, with the expense of his shelter and boarding costs to be borne by the Bakers.
On August 28, Cohen filed his appeal with the clerk of the Woburn District Court on behalf of his clients. The Bakers also did not abide by the order to surrender Floyd to the town.
Floyd’s whereabouts are currently unknown by the town, so the town has submitted its own request of the court compelling the Bakers to turn the dog over to the town as stated in the board’s order.
According to Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto, the hearing on the town’s request to have custody of Floyd given to the town during the appeal is Thursday morning, Sept. 14, in Woburn District Court.
In Cohen’s appeal to the court he states: “We have reason to believe that the decision arrived at may have been in bad faith or without proper cause. Among other concerns, there was a failure to provide adequate notice of the action to afford the Petitioners their procedural due process rights.”
Cohen continues: “The North Reading Selectboard lacks the required training and experience to lawfully and permanently seize the living property of another. They also misstated the enforcement provision under the statute further showing the pattern of carelessness regarding due process rights.”
Gilleberto said the hearing date on the owners’ appeal of the Select Board’s order to euthanize Floyd will be at the end of September in Woburn District Court.