Dog owner apologizes for injuries to neighbors, says her pets are friendly 

  • Epsom police officer Kyle Johansson presents Michele Levesque a court summons concerning some of her dogs at her home in Epsom on Saturday morning.

  • Diesel, one of Michele Levesque and Anne-marie Saunders’ boxer mix dogs, who was not there during the incident last month because he was having surgery. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Michele Levesque (right) and Anne-marie Saunders with some of their boxer dogs in their Epsom home on Saturday, April 10, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Willow, the white boxer puppy who was out with the pack of the other dogs during the incident last month on River Road in Epsom. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Epsom police officer Kyle Johansson gets ready to give Michele Levesque her a summons concerning some of her dogs at her home in Epsom on Saturday morning, April 10, 2021. She has to appear on May 24th for her violations as “dog menace; nuisance; vicious; dogs at large,”€ after an incident last month. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Emma, one of the white boxers that was on the walk that day, gets a hug from Anne-marie Saunders in their home in Epsom on Saturday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Anne-marie Saunders with some of their boxer dogs in their Epsom home on Saturday, April 10, 2021. Saunders was letting one dog out of time and making sure they listened to her commands. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Emma, one of the white boxers that was on the walk that day, stands on the back of the sofa as Michele Levesque explains her side of the story in their home in Epsom on Saturday. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Anne-marie Saunders with some of their boxer dogs in their Epsom home on Saturday, April 10, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor columnist
Published: 4/12/2021 4:31:38 PM

The police summons arrived unannounced Saturday, unnerving Michele Levesque.

Sort of like the reaction an elderly Epsom couple had last month after eight dogs, half of them belonging to Levesque, all unleashed, charged them on a neighborhood street, leaving Arthur and Anne Bouchard with puncture wounds on their skin, blood on their clothes and worry in their thoughts.

What’s worse, an incident that same day involving those same dogs, mostly boxers, had scared a young woman shortly before the Bouchard nightmare, and yet they remained unleashed afterward.

That’s why Epsom police officer Kyle Johansson was there Saturday. He motioned Levesque to move over, away from the prying local media, seeking a private conference 20 yards down the street.

He handed Levesque a summons, describing her violations as “dog menace; nuisance; vicious; dogs at large.”

Moments later, sitting in her kitchen, Levesque said she regretted her decision to allow the dogs to move freely. She wants the nasty notes circulating on social media, portraying her as the owner of devil dogs, to stop.

“I am so sorry,” Levesque said, crying. “I’m sorry for everything that happened that day. It just turned into a great big fiasco where dogs got hurt and people got hurt, and it was because of us not having the dogs on leashes.”

They weren’t leashed earlier that day, March, 14, when Levesque said her dogs and the ones owned by her friend, Alan Passler of Chichester, had frightened a woman nearby, shortly before they jumped on the Bouchards.

Passler is friends with Levesque and her partner of 16 years, Anne-Marie Saunders, their common love for dogs creating a powerful bond. They regularly walk their dogs, mostly boxers, together. When the dogs are unleashed, that’s a town violation.

Events only got worse after that first episode. Levesque said she stayed behind to comfort the young woman while Passler proceeded down River Road. Levesque arrived shortly after the damage had been done.

Passler, who received his summons last week as well, declined to comment.

The Bouchards in a recent interview said they had just started their walk, with Molly, their golden retriever. Their recollection was frightening and confirmed by a neighbor, Dan Prescott.

Essentially, Anne and Arthur were run down from behind, with Arthur covering Molly on the ground and punching at the boxers, Anne standing, screaming and kicking at the pack of canines.

Prescott raced from his house with a pair of oak sticks. At the time, he said it was “like bringing a pea shooter into a gunfight. It was a wolf pack.”

Arthur, describing the sting of battle, said, “I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but I never used all those bones and found muscles I never knew I had.”

The damage report from the Bouchards said Molly’s ear had been bitten. Arthur suffered several puncture wounds, including one that needed a butterfly stitch. Anne suffered a puncture wound on her hand.

And two friends, both passionate dog lovers, were forced to look hard at themselves. The police held them accountable.

“The dog owners are liable,” Epsom Police Chief Wayne Preve said recently, “and it’s unusual that this many dogs are out in a pack. I look for control of the dogs, and this person did not have control of his dogs.”

Levesque was anxious to speak with the media. She was upset about the Bouchards’ recollection of events published in the Monitor.

She was eager to defend her dogs. She defended her decision not to leash the dogs after the first confrontation last month, saying she had leashes with her in a bag and, besides, the dogs had always been well behaved.

“Tell them to go to the car, and, ‘boom,’ they’re in the car,” Levesque said.

She wanted to set the record straight that her dogs were not pitbulls, as some in town had thought. She said they love meeting snowmobilers on the trail, love to swim, love to run and play.

Said Saunders, her longtime partner, “The dogs aren’t the way it was described in the paper, and that incident that happened was totally out of the ordinary.”

Meanwhile, Levesque wanted to prove it. “Come meet them,” she said.

She was right. I met Aubrey and Emma and Willow and Sage and Bertha and other members of the Epsom Eight. They wagged their stubby boxer tails and competed for attention, never revealing a dangerous side.

Nevertheless, Levesque lowered her defensive shield and acknowledged that the only thing that really mattered in this case was a simple law, a statute, created to prevent injury.

That hit home Saturday. Saunders poked her head inside the front door and told Levesque that an Epsom police officer was outside. He wanted to speak with her.

Levesque had hoped she wouldn’t receive a summons. Officer Johansson had never expected to see the local media emerge from Levesque’s house.

“I can not release any information on it,” Johansson said.

Levesque had gotten the message. She has a date in Concord District Court next month.

“I’m upset that I didn’t have control over my dogs,” Levesque said. “I couldn’t get to them fast enough to put their leashes on, and I feel awful about that.”




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