One owner of a dog in a two-dog Edgartown fight agrees to euthanize pet

— File photo by Ralph Stewart

Edgartown selectmen held a truncated vicious dog hearing Monday for two dogs involved in what animal control officials described as a vicious fight on July 6.

At the start of the meeting, Amy Wales of Edgartown, owner of Tommy, a pit bull-hound cross and one of the dogs involved in the fight, told selectmen that she had already reached a decision.

“I’ve already decided to have him euthanized,” she said. “He has an appointment tomorrow, so I would like to not discuss it if possible, because it’s already taken care of. I consider it the end of that chapter myself,” an emotional Ms. Wales added.

Damon Burke, the owner of the other combatant, Ramune, an American Staffordshire terrier, asked selectmen for more time to prepare his case.

Mr. Burke, Ms. Wales’s nephew, also read a statement to selectmen.

“It is my understanding that past events from another municipality have been cited in this instance,” Mr. Burke said. “This compounds the need for time to prepare. I do not, nor would I expect the town of Edgartown’s board of selectmen to want to re-argue settled matters from another town’s board.”

Selectmen agreed to continue the hearing on Monday, July 22. They also allowed Mr. Burke to take Ramune home, under three conditions. The dog had been impounded by the town animal control officer.

Ramune must kept on a leash, muzzled on walks, and kept in a crate when nobody is at home. Selectmen also specified that the dog is to be handled exclusively by Mr. Burke. No one, family members included, may walk her.

Mr. Burke’s reference was to an incident on May 20, 2012, involving two Jack Russell terriers in Oak Bluffs.

Animal control officer Jennifer Morgan recounted the events of July 6. She said she responded to a call about a fight between two dogs.

“I was on duty on the day and I received a call just before 7 pm,” Ms. Morgan said. Despite a second call that came through the communications center saying that she was no longer needed, Ms. Morgan responded. “I felt like the responsible thing to do, since I was on South Water Street, was to continue out and make sure everybody was okay, so I responded to the call. When I got there, Amy and Stephanie were both there, the dogs were obviously pretty badly beaten up and clearly needed vet care.”

Both dogs were held on a state mandated 10-day quarantine.

Stephanie Burke, Mr. Burke’s mother and Ms. Wales’s sister, read a statement to selectmen. “This incident happened inside my house,” she said. “The dogs are family dogs, and there was no person bitten and no mention of any complaint being made.”

Ms. Burke explained to selectmen that she was not pleased with Jennifer Morgan. “When I said Ramune’s name, she (Jennifer Morgan) said that this was big trouble, and that this was ‘the end’ for that dog.”

She later said, “The attitude of Jennifer Morgan in regards to Ramune has been just plain horrible.”

Selectman Margaret Serpa said Ms. Morgan would have an opportunity to respond to the criticisms next week.