Dog owner, town settle in 'dangerous dog' incident

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BRATTLEBORO — The town and an owner of two pitbulls have reached a settlement after a cat was killed in August.

Dozer had been declared a "dangerous dog" by the police chief but his owner Nina Kunimoto claimed it had been her other dog, Buddy, who attacked the cat and should have gotten the label. Neither dog will have the label after a settlement agreement was signed by Town Manager Peter Elwell and Kunimoto on Monday.

A stipulation of dismissal says Kunimoto agrees to withdraw her argument and the town won't issue another citation against Buddy. Within six months, she is to pay about $2,822 to the owner of the cat her dog mauled and killed.

Kunimoto is expected to keep both dogs in an enclosure when they are outside her owned or leased property and off leash. The dogs will need to be walked separately on sturdy leashes that are not retractable. They are to be muzzled when outdoors and outside of the enclosure.

The agreement also calls for Kunimoto to continue working with dog trainers to "learn and implement techniques for curbing aggressive behavior and maintaining control over the dogs."

"Any violation of the enumerated terms of this settlement will result in the immediate declaration of either or both dogs as 'dangerous dogs' in accordance with the applicable town office," the stipulation says.

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That declaration would require Kunimoto to do the same things called for in the stipulation but also keep insurance of no less than $50,000 on each of the dogs.

In a Jan. 2 memo, Police Chief Michael Fitzgerald wrote that he was prepared to continue an appeal hearing if Kunimoto did not agree with the terms in the stipulation. He said he could present witnesses who disputed several statements Kunimoto made at the last hearing and a sworn statement from a man who had been bitten by Dozer in December 2017.

In further reasoning for the initial declaration, Fitzgerald previously said Dozer had bit Kunimoto and also ran loose "barking and terrifying children" in separate incidents.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays

at cmays@reformer.com, at

@CMaysBR on Twitter

and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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