Stow town leaders decide dogs will not be euthanized

Posted: 04/09/13 at 6:10 pm EDT      Last Updated: 04/09/13 at 10:48 pm EDT

STOW, Mass. (WHDH) -- A man was seriously injured after he tried to stop three dogs from mauling his border-collie mix, Stella. After a meeting Tuesday, town leaders decided the dogs that attacked the man should not be euthanized.

**Warning: Some of the images in the video and below are graphic**

David Barr said in early March two dogs -- a boxer mix named Jack and a shepherd mix named Buck -- mauled his dog during a quiet Saturday morning walk in Harvard, Mass. He said the third dog mostly watched.

“They were going to kill her… I threw myself. It was adrenaline, it was reactive,” said David Barr.

“Stella was underneath me. I’m protecting her and this boxer is in my face and I’m punching him to stay away,” David Barr said.

EMTs rushed David Barr to the hospital, where he received 35 stitches and plastic surgery.

“He was in the ER -- I was prepared,” said Maureen Barr, the victim’s wife.

Stella was also injured. Veterinarian bills topped $2,000.

“This fight ensued for five to 10 minutes and it was absolutely terrifying and vicious,” said David Barr.

The Stow woman who co-owns the dogs declined to comment. There was no sign of her dogs at her home Tuesday.

In a letter to Harvard police she denied both dogs attacked saying, “I did not see Buck biting Stella. I only saw him fighting (jumping and chasing). I only saw Jack biting Stella.”

David Barr said both dogs attacked Stella.

“They worked as a team,” said David Barr.

The owner of the three dogs also told police she tried to help. Jay Rappa, the owner's son, said in the town meeting he doesn't believe the dogs should be euthanized.

“He’s a part of our family. I feel responsible for having put the dogs in the position. I don’t necessarily feel like it was in their instinct,” said Jay Rappa, co-owner of the dogs.

After a two-hour meeting, the Stow Board of Health declared the two dogs dangerous but spared their lives.

“I’m not satisfied at all. I think euthanizing them was the right thing to do and I’m terribly disappointed at the outcome,” said Barr.

The dogs will have to be contained, restrained, muzzled, and insured. The owners say they will comply.

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