Tisbury selectmen stop Lake Street fuel sales
Talk about dogs and docks took up much of the Tisbury selectmen's meeting on Tuesday at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven.
At a dog hearing at 6 pm, animal control officer Laurie Clements was overcome with emotion after describing an incident on September 5, involving a pit bull mix that viciously attacked a much smaller dog.
Tiara Matthews, age 16, and her mother Nicole Ferguson-Matthews, own Biggie, the pit bull mix. Baby, a papillon, is owned by Anna Dye of Hyannis and cared for by her mother, Theresa Jaworski, in Vineyard Haven.
At 9:45 am, Biggie was running on a long leash alongside Tiara, who was riding a bike, and darted over to viciously attack Baby, who was walking on a leash on the sidewalk with Ms. Jaworski at the corner of West William and Look streets.
A neighbor who heard the injured dog's screams told Ms. Clements that, as she came running out to help the wounded creature, Tiara was leaving with her dog and refused to give her name or remain at the scene.
Ms. Clements was not there at the time. Tisbury police officer Scott Ogden responded to the incident.
Treatment of Baby's severe injuries at an off-Island facility amounted to more than $3,600 in vet bills. In the week after the attack Ms. Clements said the neighbor helped her track down Tiara and her dog. Officer Ogden then accompanied Ms. Clements to talk to Tiara and her mother. By then, the 10-day quarantine period had passed for impounding the dog.
Ms. Clements said the dog is left alone in a house on William Street during the day and kept in a pen at Tiara's grandmother's house at night.
Neither Tiara nor her mother attended Tuesday night's hearing. Ms. Clements recommended that the selectmen require full restitution from Tiara and her mother for the vet bills. She also said the dog should be muzzled and leashed at all times when outside.
The selectmen wrestled with the vagaries of Massachusetts laws regarding dogs that attack other dogs. Selectman Geoghan Coogan said his concern about banning the dog from Tisbury is that it just becomes another town's problem. He suggested impounding the dog and asking the Dukes County Commissioners to act on banning the dog on an Island-wide basis.
The selectmen voted to request that Tiara and her mother surrender the dog for impoundment and to pay full restitution for Ms. Dye's vet bills. They also will request the Dukes County commissioners ban the dog from the Island and consult town counsel about proper notice, how to serve it, timing, and enforcement.
In other business, the selectmen opened the floor to discussion about fuel deliveries by commercial fuel dealer Jay McMann of Island Fuel to commercial fishermen's boats at the Lake Street landing in Lake Tashmoo.
Tashmoo Management Committee (TMC) chairman Melinda Loberg read a prepared statement outlining the committee's position. The committee pointed out that refueling three or four commercial fishing boats at the Lake Street dock is currently illegal, according to the town's waterways regulations, and questioned why the regulations are not being enforced.
The committee also expressed concerns about the lake's fragile ecological state and the potential for further damage if a fuel spill occurred. Both the TMC and Harbor Management Committee (HMC) sided against allowing fuel sales that would benefit and grant special privileges to only three or four commercial fishermen.
Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling spoke in Mr. McMann's defense and said that he had taken multiple steps to ensure a safe refueling operation at Lake Tashmoo.
Commercial fisherman Glenn Pachico suggested as a compromise that the selectmen consider allowing fuel sales to commercial fishermen at the Owen Park dock, since there is already commercial industry in the Vineyard Haven harbor.
Mr. Coogan said the selectmen have to balance preserving Lake Tashmoo with supporting commercial fishermen who are fighting every day to keep their industry alive. To be fair, he said the selectmen should require a formal application from anyone proposing a commercial activity on town property before they consider allowing it.
The selectmen approved a motion to prohibit further fuel sales at the dock until an application is brought before them.
The selectmen said they will deliberate the issues further, and that any recommendations they make will be vetted through the TMC and HMC.
During departmental reports, the selectmen discussed plans for the shellfish department following the death of Shellfish Constable Derek Cimeno on September 14.
In anticipation of the increased workload during the upcoming scallop season, they asked Tisbury harbormaster Jay Wilbur to manage the shellfish department until the end of January and administrative secretary Hillary Conklin to handle the department's administrative work.
Chairman Tristan Israel said that the selectmen are considering merging the harbormaster and shellfish departments in the long term, so that the assistant shellfish constable and assistant harbormaster could move between departments as needed. "We won't make a decision without discussion," he said.
Regarding scallop season, the selectmen also approved the shellfish committee's recommended dates. Recreational scalloping will open in Vineyard Haven harbor on October 17 and commercial scalloping on October 19. Recreational scalloping in Lagoon Pond opens October 31 and commercial on November 2. There will be no scalloping in Lake Tashmoo this year.
Emergency Services Facilities (ESF) committee chairman Joe Tierney said work is still underway on finalizing the facility's design and cost estimates, in preparation for putting the project out to bid in two weeks.
The selectmen will hold a public hearing on a traffic plan and options for the area around Tisbury School and the proposed new ESF at their meeting on October 20 at 6 pm.