Marion Family Says Town ‘Abused Power’ and Unexpectedly Euthanized Their Dog
The MacDonald family in Marion received some difficult news earlier this week when they discovered their dog, Stella, had been unexpectedly euthanized.
While the Marion Select Board had already deemed the 7-year-old mastiff dangerous, the MacDonalds had hope that another solution might have been considered, such as relocating the dog.
Since being seized from the MacDonalds three months ago, Stella had been held at a kennel in Dartmouth awaiting the outcome of the appeals process. The family had called into question whether Marion town officials had jurisdiction to punish the dog for an incident that occurred in another state.
"We were told by Town Administrator Jim McGrail that they were going to try to work it out, to try to rehome her out of state," Jen MacDonald said. "He said, 'Let's try to figure this out, find a way to avoid euthanization, and we'll have a meeting on Monday.'"
MacDonald said her husband, Dave, had some hope and reached out a number of times last week to try to get an update on an alternative plan for Stella. However, his attempts were unsuccessful and he was unable to connect with McGrail on Friday. On Monday morning, the MacDonalds said they received the bad news.
"Jim McGrail sent an email saying that they couldn't find a solution. Monday morning he went down and signed the paperwork for euthanization without telling us," MacDonald claimed. "He said to the staff that it wasn't in our best interest or the dog's best interest to let us know. We never got a chance to say goodbye to our family dog. This was an abuse of power."
Stella was deemed a dangerous dog by Marion Select Board members after she killed another dog in October 2018. She was ordered muzzled while in public, however, she was not wearing a muzzle when she seriously injured a second dog, Milo (pictured below), in Connecticut on May 17.
Maura Quatrano is Milo's owner.
She says she had mixed feelings when she heard the news this week that Stella was euthanized.
"I think that's what needed to be done, however, it's not what I wanted to be done. I'm an animal lover," said Quatrano. "It's not the dog's fault. It was the owner's fault for not muzzling him. I'm angry. I'm angry at her (MacDonald). It was a very simple thing she had to do, and she was negligent. My dog will never be the same."
When asked what outcome she would have preferred for the dog, Quatrano said, "My wish was for there to be a consequence for the owner rather than the dog."
Attempts to get a comment from Marion's town administrator and animal control officer were unsuccessful after two conversations with the town's public relations firm.
Earlier this year, Marion Select Board Chair Randy Parker said the decision to have the dog euthanized was "just not easy" but had to be made.