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By Michael Hartwell


FITCHBURG — The state has taken over the investigation of how a dog was euthanized less than 48 hours after it was turned over to the Fitchburg Animal Shelter in April.

On April 20, Capone, a 2-year-old shepherd-pitbull mix, escaped from his owner’s Fitchburg home. It was found by a neighbor, but without any tags to find the owner, the neighbor turned the dog over to the city.

The dog was placed in the Fitchburg Animal Shelter by an animal control officer and euthanized the next night.

Shelter volunteers said euthanization of any dog in the shelter needs to be authorized through the municipal animal control division, and the investigation will determine if the city got that authorization.

Shelter volunteers said Capone burrowed his way through one cage to the next one to attack another dog, and that Capone was a dangerous animal.

Maghan Moynahan, Capone’s owner, disagrees, and says Capone was never aggressive to anyone.

Moynahan said she had Capone since he was 4 months old, when she get him from a friend of a friend, and that he was never aggressive to people or other animals.

She said his body is still being held as the investigation continues, and she hasn’t heard any updates from investigators.

“I really don’t understand what’s going on,” said Moynahan. “I wasn’t there, but I know how my dog acts. He doesn’t have a problem on a leash or when free. It doesn’t make sense at all to why he would have been aggressive.”

She said Fitchburg Animal Control Officer Sue Kowaleski was out sick during the incident and Assistant Animal Control Officer Michael East is the one who took Capone to the shelter. He used a catch-pole with a loop at the end for safety when moving Capone.

Fitchburg police started the investigation to discover what happened around the euthanization of Capone, but Fitchburg Police Deputy Chief Paul Bozicas said Wednesday that the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has taken over that investigation. He said the results are expected to be released soon.

Kowaleski, East and Amy Egeland, the part-time manager of the Fitchburg Animal Shelter, have all declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Follow Michael Hartwell at or on Twitter or Tout @Sehartwell.

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