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Lynn pit bull put down as a menace to society

LYNN – A pit bull terrier was shot dead after it lunged at a city worker and mauled a pedestrian Thursday morning on Grove Street.Kevin Farnsworth, the city’s animal control officer, initially tried to capture the dog with a snare pole, but it was too aggressive, he said.The action unfolded shortly before 11 a.m. when police were called to the vicinity of 46 Grove St., where Lynn Water and Sewer Commission (LWSC) employee O.C. Payne Jr. was attempting to read a home meter box.”He turned around and there were two pit bulls about to lunge at him. He kicked one in the throat as it charged and then ran to his truck, which was parked close by,” said Robert Tucker, LWSC director of management operations. “Mr. Payne called headquarters and we contacted the dog officer.”Tucker said Payne, who was accompanied by LWSC employee Jerry Haggerty, was unharmed and returned to work.Meanwhile, the dogs attacked and bit Mark McKeon, 56, of Lynn, who was walking near the intersection of Boston and Grove streets.”This individual was knocked down by two dogs, which he described as pit bulls. The dark one bit him in the left arm,” said Police Lt. David Brown, adding that Action Ambulance took McKeon to Union Hospital for treatment of bite wounds.After attacking McKeon, the dogs apparently retreated to 29 Grove St., where they live with Michelle Schuman and other family members.According to Farnsworth, the unneutered, dark-furred adult male pit bull named King, and a female pit bull with brindle coat, circled the police cruiser in a menacing manner so that the officers could not immediately exit the vehicle at the scene. The darker pit bull charged Farnsworth, who shot it in the driveway at 29 Grove St.”The dog officer was forced to use his sidearm to shoot the animal just once. He had to put the dog down. It was taken to the animal hospital,” Brown said.The second dog was lured by its keepers inside the fenced yard at 29 Grove St. It remained unclear whether the animal would be taken into custody for quarantine.Schuman was not at home when the incident occurred. She said the dogs are kept in the fenced yard and not allowed to run free. However, Farnsworth said the animals have been the source of previous problems in the neighborhood, including an incident where they muscled into a woman’s home and attempted to drag away her small dog.”The animals were roaming free when we got the call,” Farnsworth said Thursday. “They attacked a city worker and then a pedestrian who was just walking along the street.”Farnsworth, who has been the city’s primary animal control officer since the 1980s, said it was the first time in his career that he was forced to lethally shoot a dog.Schuman was visibly shaken upon arriving only moments after police left the scene and firefighters finished hosing blood from the pavement. “I moved to Lynn, to this house and this neighborhood, to get away from things,” she said. “But people haven’t been friendly. They’re prejudiced because my kids are mulatto.”The dogs are confined to the chain-linked yard or the house, she said, adding, “The kids around here play with both dogs all the time. They’re strong, but they’re friendly.”Shuman said her ex-boyfriend, who lives in Woburn, is the legal owner of the dogs. As a television news crew arrived, Shuman drove away, bound for North Shore Animal Hospital where the dead dog was taken.A police officer waited at the veterinary hospital with Farnsworth until the dog owner arrived in case trouble arose.Last March 26, Farnsworth cited Angelo Santiago of 29 Grove St. for failing to license, restrain and vaccinate two dogs. A $200 fine was imposed through the city Parking Department but remains unpaid, according to records at City Hall, where Schuman is listed as the homeowner.Thursday’s incident occurred just as some Beacon Hill legislators are pushing for a statewide ban on pit bulls, contending that dog-control laws need a major makeover to reduce attacks by aggressive canines.Over the past fe

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