The West Tisbury Selectmen made a controversial decision this week by unanimously agreeing to euthanize two Akitas owned by Taggart Young of West Tisbury and Anna Bolotovsky of Newton, MA.
The decision came one week after the selectmen voted not to euthanize the dogs, but instead to order them off the Island. The dogs killed neighboring farmer Richard Andre’s livestock three times in the past three months, after getting loose from their owner's property.
After the first attack in early November, the dog owners were ordered to build a chain link enclosure for the dogs and pay $150 to Andre, which they did. However the chain link enclosure did not keep the dogs from getting out two more times.
According to a report in the Martha’s Vineyard Times, “On the most recent occasion, the pair killed 14 chickens and attacked some geese.”
On February 1, the selectmen voted 2-1 not to euthanize the dogs, but instead to ban them from the Island forever. One of the dogs, Zion is being held at Animal Health Care at the airport that serves as the Island’s pound, and the other dog, Sensi, is living with Bolotvsky’s mother in Newton.
Originally, an agreement to be signed and ready for a final vote was planned for February 8 after which time, Zion would go to Newton and Young and Bolotovsky would compensate Andre for the lost livestock.
All of this changed on February 2 when Young went to Animal Health Care and told them that the selectmen had given him permission to take Zion.
As a result, the selectmen voted this week to rescind last week’s decision and instead ordered that the dogs be euthanized.
Selectmen Richard Knabel told MVPatch, “I doubt anyone involved, including the owner of the dead livestock, comes away at this point with any sense of satisfaction or even justice. Certainly I don’t. This has been the most awful, difficult, and distasteful series of incidents I have experienced in my relatively short time as a selectman, and it continues to be on my mind constantly.
"On our side of the table we thought we made a good-faith attempt at resolving a nasty situation that would, if not please all the parties, not make matters worse. We were defeated in that effort by one of the owners whose attitude and irresponsible behavior made it unreasonable for the selectmen to enter into an agreement that might have saved the dogs. The law does not give selectmen many options.
"Euthanizing the dogs is the most difficult and distasteful one, and we arrived at it very reluctantly. Painfully. I hope never to have to deal with such a situation again.”
The motion requires that both dogs be put to death, but since Sensi is in Newton, it is not clear whether the owners will be forced to bring the dog to the Island. The owners can file an appeal in Edgartown District Court within 10 days of the selectmen’s signing of the final order.
In the meantime Sensi will stay in Newton and Zion will remain in the custody of Animal Health Care.