Pit bull's owner hit with fine

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MANCHESTER — Dozer is a very well-known dog in Manchester, and that's not a good thing. The 9-year-old Pit bull is the only dog to be brought into court in decades.

Tuesday night, Dozer cost his family more than $2,000 in fines for charges including being a dog at large and not having a town dog license for the past three years.

But these are only the most recent run-ins Dozer has had with local law enforcement.

Dozer's rap sheet includes at least 17 incidents ranging from running at large to killing a chihuahua six years ago.

That incident happened

in 2013, and earned Dozer a

vicious dog order at a March 28, 2013 hearing.

Since then, Dozer has

violated probation multiple times.

Tuesday night, Manchester Police Chief Patrick Owens ran through Dozer's six-year rap sheet that includes 14 run ins with the Manchester Police Department and three others with the Winhall

Police Department.

The most recent came when Dozer was picked up Oct. 18 when an MPD officer caught Dozer again running the streets of Manchester. That charge, along with three years — each one count of not being licensed — has Dozer's owner Vanessa Roberts facing four separate $500 fines.

Roberts admitted that Dozer is a flight risk, saying he just likes to run. He's broken leashes, torn out screen doors, gone through windows and found other ways to hit the streets.

But Roberts said other than having an incorrigible wanderlust, Dozer is a good dog, sweet and affectionate.

"We've had him since he was 6 weeks old," Roberts said, as she began to cry. "He's going to be 9. He's not a bad dog. He just likes to run. He likes people."

While Manchester Police officers agree Dozer is a sweet dog, it doesn't mean they aren't tired of apprehending the scofflaw.

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"It's cost hours and hours of time for officers each time looking for dogs running at large and attempting to find the owner — it ties up an officer or two," Chief Owens said.

The three present members of the Select Board — Wayne Bell, Jan Nolan and Todd Nebraska — were not in a charitable mood with Dozer considering his history and asked hard questions and demanded answers from Roberts about why the situation keeps repeating itself.

"This is an odyssey with Dozer," Bell said. "We've been through this often-tearful hearing before. This is a very frustrating thing for us. The chief has outlined 14 incidents."

Town Manager John O'Keefe pointed out the board is made up of dog owners.

"I think every one of us owns or has owned a dog," O'Keefe said. "I'm not asking you to put that aside, but the dog is continuing to get loose. The dog has killed another dog. The police department has said the dog is friendly but it did kill another dog."

And O'Keefe said the neighbors are tired of dealing with the dog.

"Having a dog run loose in the neighborhood over and over again is impacting the neighborhood," O'Keefe said. "From the neighborhood perspective, if the dog goes back to the house, how will the dog not be running at large again."

Roberts' son, Dustin Joseph, 16, who attended the hearing with his mother and brother, Hunter, 13, told the board that they're moving out of town and Dozer will be leaving.

"You guys gotta take into consideration that he's leaving Manchester," Joseph said. "We're gone. We're out of here. He's not coming back to Manchester."

Bell told Dustin Joseph that the board had heard that before.

With a decision to be made, the board went into a deliberative session behind closed doors and came out with their decision.

Roberts will have to pay $500 for each of three counts of not registering Dozer for the past three years and one count of running at large for a total of $2,000, plus impound fees and medical costs incurred during a vet visit.

The fines have to be paid by Nov. 8 or Dozer will be considered to be unclaimed.

After the decision, Roberts said she will try to get the money together to bail Dozer out

"I'm going to try.," Roberts said. "I'll do what I can. It's a lot of money."

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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