West Tisbury selectmen stay dog execution order


In another change of heart, West Tisbury selectmen over the weekend held off on signing a euthanization order for two Akitas that have gotten loose on three occasions and killed a neighbor’s chickens and geese.

The two dogs are owned by Taggart Young and Anna Bolotovsky. One of the dogs, Zion, is now at Animal Health Care, which serves as the town pound. The other, Sensi, is being kept in Newton with Ms. Bolotvsky’s mother.

Two selectmen – Richard Knabel and Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter – attended a special meeting Saturday, February 11. Jonathon Rankin of Framingham, an attorney for the two owners, was there and he submitted a proposal to spare the life of Zion and instead give him to new owners.

During a phone conversation Monday, Mr. Knabel said he did not feel comfortable signing the euthanization order without the third selectman, Cynthia Mitchell, present. He also said he was not prepared to sign the order, because of efforts underway to place the dogs with new owners.

“I was the one saying it looks like they are trying to put together a rescue effort to try and place the dogs with more appropriate owners. They had put together a possible settlement – and I felt it was something we should talk about,” Mr. Knabel said.

Mr. Knabel said a group is also trying to give the dogs to go to an Akita rescue organization.

“That seems like a reasonable alternative. We don’t know if that is going to happen, but there are people trying to make it happen, so I was not prepared to go along with the order,” he said.

The issue is on the agenda for Wednesday’s selectmen meeting, Mr. Knabel said.

On February 8, selectmen unanimously voted to euthanize the two dogs after they got loose three times and killed livestock owned by Richard Andre, who lives on Old County Road. Although the motion called for both dogs to be put down, in reality it only affected Zion, currently at the town pound. Selectmen had no legal authority to force the owners to return Sensi, the second dog, to the Island. Sensi is being kept in Newton.

The first incident involving the dogs occurred November 10, when they killed two geese owned by Mr. Andre. After that incident selectmen ordered Mr. Young and Ms. Bolotovsky to build a chain link enclosure for the dogs and pay $150 in restitution for the geese, which they did.

The dogs got loose again on December 14 and January 13, and killed livestock belonging to Mr. Andre. Following those incidents, selectmen voted 2-1 on February 1 to draft an agreement to spare the life of the two dogs and instead ban them from the Island forever.

But selectmen then reversed that decision on February 8, after hearing evidence that Mr. Young went to Animal Health Care and tried to get Zion released from the pound, pretending that the selectmen had permitted the removal.