The order issued by the Yarmouth Board of Selectmen at a hearing last night on
Marchitelli's two pit bulls prompted cries of protest from neighbors who say the dogs are a menace to the Lakeland Avenue neighborhood where they live.
"Where's the justice?" Russell Caron, of 13 Lakeland Ave., said outside Town Hall after the hearing. "They're waiting for somebody to get mauled."
"I was attacked by their dog and my wife was attacked by their dog," he said at the start of testimony about an incident April 13, when the Carons say one of the pit bulls broke free and rushed Joan Caron while she was walking in the neighborhood.
Joan Caron is a mail carrier and said her limited training on dealing with vicious dogs on the job helped prevent Marchitelli's pet from badly hurting her. "I was scared to death," she said.
Joan Caron said she stood her ground and shouted at the dog to stop, which gave her enough time to call her husband on a cell phone. He ran to her aid with a golf club in hand, she said. "If the dog had taken one more step, we wouldn't be in this situation," Russell Caron said.
Marchitelli's dogs have attacked people, twice caused the post office to stop the delivery of mail to several homes in the area, and have severely injured a neighbor's dog, according to neighbors and the town's animal control officer, Penny Schiller.
Selectmen expressed sympathy with the concerned neighbors, but gave Marchitelli one more chance in a 3-1 vote.
"This one is probably one of the hardest ones we've had," Selectman Jerry Sullivan said of the vicious dog complaint.
The selectmen voted to require Marchitelli to keep his dogs leashed and restrained, to not allow them outside without supervision, and to spay his female pit bull.
Selectmen added a requirement that a 6-foot-high fence be constructed on the property by June 4 and that a double gate be installed so the dogs would not inadvertently escape.
If Marchitelli does not comply, selectmen will hold another hearing "to consider additional options to include but not be limited to euthanasia."
"You have one chance and one chance only," Sullivan said. "I guarantee if you come before this board again, you will not like what happens."
Marchitelli struck a conciliatory tone in his comments to the selectmen.
"I don't blame the people," Marchitelli said, when he rose to speak. "We're going to do everything we can to protect our dogs and protect our neighbors."
Reached by telephone after the hearing, Marchitelli said he and his wife were discussing what to do next. In the meantime, he said the couple would comply with the selectmen's order.
(Cape Cod Times - May 23, 2007)