Wayneboro's Mayor Frank Lucente was in court Friday morning because his dog was on trial for biting someone on Memorial Day.
“Waynesboro's a great place to live because if a dog is dangerous, and if that's our biggest problem here, we have a wonderful community,” said Mayor Lucente.
A retired judge called in to substitute ruled that Lucente's 7-year old retriever, Luke, was dangerous according to Virginia law. That ruling came after hearing testimony from not only the person bitten but several others who claim the mayor's dog tackled their dog at a park, or ran after them in front of Lucente's house.
Luke must now be locked up at all times.
“That's a significant issue for this dog, which is a retriever and which has had a life where it has run in the park under Frank's voice control for most of its life,” said John Hill, Lucente's attorney.
Lucente emotionally begged the court to give him one more chance to make sure his dog stayed under control. The Virginia statute about dangerous dogs left little wiggle room for debate.
“He did bite. And that's it. Even though the statute calls for the totality of evidence a judge ruled that he was a dangerous dog,” said Lucente.
Lucente said he was lucky to be in a position where he can pay for the registration and insurance that owning Luke now requires. He knows some people in similar situations are not able to keep their pets because of the cost.
“Don't let your dog bite anybody off your property because that can be a very severe penalty.”
Lucente has 10 days to appeal the ruling. He said it is likely that he will appeal, but at the time on Friday, he was only worried about getting his dog out of lock-up.
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