West Tisbury selectmen muzzle chicken killing dog

The old West Tisbury police station, next to the Mill Pond on the West Tisbury-Edgartown Road, has been vacant since the police moved to their new station in March. — Photo by Michael Cummo

West Tisbury selectmen voted two to one at their meeting on June 11 to accept the recommendation of animal control officer Joan Jenkinson and require dog owner Marina Sharkovitz to keep her husky, Kota, penned and muzzled whenever it is outside her Otis Bassett Road home.

The decision last Wednesday followed a public hearing in which Angela Aronie, Ms. Sharkovitz’s neighbor, filed a complaint with Ms. Jenkinson in which she claimed that Kota killed some of her chickens.

“This is not the first call I’ve gotten from Angela,” Ms. Jenkinson told selectmen, “but this is the first formal complaint that has been filed. We just don’t have any patience for livestock killing in this town. It happens a lot. More than we would like to talk about.”

“Short of recommending euthanasia,” Ms. Jenkinson told the selectmen, “I recommend that the dog be put in a contained area, also a muzzle on the dog when it is outside.”

She said the dog was not licensed at the time of the offense but is licensed now.

Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter, a selectman and town police sergeant, voted no. “I am voting no, as I always do on these matters because I think dog owners should be held to a higher standard,” he said.

In a followup conversation by phone, The Times asked Mr. Manter to explain his comment.

“I think dogs that attack animals should be euthanized,” Mr. Manter said. “I think once they have done it it becomes a habit. We should send a message that we support our farmers. We should send a message that this is what’s going to happen if you move to West Tisbury. I think people will be much more responsible for their dogs.”

In other business Wednesday, selectmen agreed to complete an audit of the town’s streetlight needs before entering into an agreement to have some of the town’s lights replaced by more energy efficient fixtures, a free service offered by the Cape Light Compact (CLC).

Selectman Richard Knabel suggested looking into areas that might benefit from new streetlights, for example the North Tisbury business district. Mr. Manter said that he thought there are areas where unnecessary streetlights could be removed.

The selectmen acknowledged the town’s historic district commission vote on Monday, June 9, to keep the 50-year-old admiral’s hat lights in the historic district and to replace the old incandescent bulbs in those fixtures with new more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.

Selectmen voted unanimously to accept the West Tisbury old police department reuse committee report presented by committee member Bea Phear. The committee concluded that the old police station next to the Mill Pond would be best used by a nonprofit, perhaps as a gallery. She agreed to discuss the building’s future with Christopher Scott, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, which owns and maintains historic Island buildings.