EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 11, 2013

Out of the doghouse

Oliver released from quarantine, but won't return home

By John Toole
jtoole@eagletribune.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — Oliver is free and one very happy dog.

After 10 days in quarantine, police yesterday released the pooch that got into the doghouse for biting a Londonderry first-grader.

Oliver emerged from his cage at the town complex, climbing all over his owner, Lisa Palmieri, repeatedly lapping at her face and knocking her down.

“It’s all right,” Palmieri told Oliver. “You knew mommy was coming back for you. What a good boy.”

Yesterday, Oliver was bound for a hotel after the jailhouse reunion. But his ultimate destination — and even that of the Palmieri family — is up in the air.

“We’re not sure what we’re going to do,” Palmieri said. “The place we were going to send him fell through.”

The family is considering moving to a new home where they can keep Oliver safely in a fenced yard.

But that won’t happen overnight, so they are looking for a place to keep Oliver temporarily.

Oliver, a pit bull and Labrador retriever mix, last week bit Sarah Stewart, 6, when she tripped and fell on him while playing in their Winterwood Drive neighborhood.

Oliver was on the front porch of the Palmieris’ townhouse. Palmieri had him on a leash at the time.

The Palmieris will have some bills, thanks to Oliver. They are facing fines of $100 for having a vicious dog and $25 for failing to keep his rabies vaccination current. His 10-day quarantine will cost them $37 for kennel upkeep, Londonderry Animal Control Officer Mike Bennett said.

Palmieri admitted the family would love to bring Oliver home, but won’t do so out of concern for Sarah.

“We can’t let that little girl live in fear,” she said.

Sarah’s dad, Greg, did not want the dog put down. Instead, he chose to have the dog checked by a veterinarian for rabies.

Palmieri said Oliver has an appointment to be examined by a vet today.

Stewart conceded he’s a dog lover.

“I couldn’t do that,” he said of having Oliver put down.

Sarah, meanwhile, returned to class this week at South Elementary School.

She will not require plastic surgery for the wound to her forehead, her father said.

“Everything is going good,” he said. “She’s outside playing, wearing hats to keep the sun off so she doesn’t get scarring.”

Sarah’s health is what really matters, Palmieri said.

“That’s the most important thing,” she said. “She’s doing excellent.”

The Easter Sunday incident upset the friendly neighborhood, where residents share cookouts and everyone’s kids and grandkids play together.