In Massachusetts, dog owners are strictly liable for dog bites unless the victim was tormenting the animal or trespassing. But there is no standard practice for holding a dangerous dog while town officials or courts decide its fate.
That became painfully obvious last week after Mansfield selectmen voted to euthanize a dog that had bitten a 6-year-old boy who needed more than 400 stitches to repair his injuries. Under state law, a dog owner has 10 days to request a court review of any restraint or euthanasia order. On Saturday, shortly into the waiting period, the dog bit a 16-year-old girl. The second incident was entirely preventable.