New Policy Sought for Stray Dogs

February 15, 2012
By

A man and his dog enjoy a walk and the lowtide at Revere Beach.

Lisa Cutting of Ocean View Kennels works closely with the Revere Police, but the police aren’t working well with her – and she said it’s becoming a problem.

About two weeks ago, a Revere man was transported to the Whidden Hospital with a sickness. With the man expected to be hospitalized, officers confiscated his dog and dropped it off with Cutting. That’s become normal procedure over the years, as Cutting and her parents have absorbed strays from the police for years.

Two years ago, though, they began a formal relationship as the City’s secondary animal provider – behind North Shore Pet Shelter.

The hospitalized man’s dog was a happy camper when he arrived at the kennel two weeks ago, but a few days later his owner was back at home and wanted his beloved pooch back.

He called the police.

They told him, quite simply, that the dog had been put to sleep and it was no more.

Crushed, the man hung up and accepted his awful fate.

Meanwhile, Cutting and the man’s dog were getting along fine, but she wanted the dog to get back to its home.

She tried calling the police numerous times for information.

No luck.

No one knew anything about the dog or the man, until she got someone at the station who seemed to be interested in helping.

Finally, Cutting found the man and began asking about his dog over the phone.

“He freaked out on me and got angry and cursed at me,” she said. “He was so mad at me and I had no idea why. He kept saying I was cruel to call and bring up the dog. It turns out he had called the police and the department told him that Animal Control had euthanized his dog. Meanwhile the dog had been laying on my couch for a week. I had to hold the phone up and let his dog bark in it before he would believe me. It was unbelievable.”

Well, at least it would be unbelievable if it wasn’t the first time bad things have happened in what Cutting said is a haphazard policy towards animals at the police department.

“Unfortunately, a Revere family’s beautiful yellow Lab was euthanized awhile back because the family had lost the dog and didn’t speak English very well,” she said. “The police told them to contact me, and I didn’t have the dog and they didn’t know where to turn. In the end, the police had taken it to the shelter, but no one had told them that. When they found out, it was too late. The dog had been put down already.”

And those two stories, she said, only scratch the surface of the problem.

“It’s been an ongoing and ongoing and ongoing problem with them,” she said. “They blow me off and never call me back. We’re not some dumping ground for them. Their communication is bogus. When I tried to get answers, some of the officers in charge didn’t even know who I was or why I had people’s dogs. The animals aren’t going away. I have seven dogs right now that have been surrendered. There has to be a better system here.”

With her frustrations brewing and her private kennel business suffering due to the City’s business, Cutting took her case to the City Council on Monday night and detailed the problems.

Councillors agreed to look into the matter, and Acting Chief Joe Cafarelli was in attendance and took note of the problem. Mayor Dan Rizzo also took note of the situation.

“You’re not asking for much,” said Council President Richard Penta. “This seems like something that can be worked out.”

Cutting said one problem that is costing dog owners unnecessary money is that the police often don’t tell owners where their dogs are in a timely manner. This results in days going by with the owner not knowing where to retrieve the dog.

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