Tisbury selectmen hear dog complaint highlighting need for animal officer
An animal complaint hearing, which opened the Tisbury selectmen's meeting Tuesday night, underscored the town's pressing need for an animal control officer.
The selectmen heard testimony from Vineyard Haven resident Dan Mayhew, who said two months ago a German shepherd running loose at the Tisbury School playground bit his daughter. While he took her to the hospital, West Tisbury Animal Control Officer Joan Jenkinson responded to the incident and tried to reach the dog's owner, William Brown Jr.
Unable to contact Mr. Brown about the dog's records, medical personnel advised Mr. Mayhew that his daughter should undergo rabies shots immediately, since he and his family planned to leave on vacation the next day.
Mr. Mayhew asked them to wait two hours in the hope more information might be found. Luckily, Ms. Jenkinson and Tisbury Police Officer Tim Stobie were able to track down the dog's veterinarian in Vermont and verify that its inoculations were up to date.
"I honestly think the town cannot go without a dog officer," Mr. Mayhew told the selectmen. "This needs to be brought to everyone's attention. I think the board needs to explain to people you have to be responsible for your dog."
The dog lives just a few doors down from the Mayhews on Greenwood Avenue. Although leashed in its yard, Mr. Mayhew said his daughter is afraid of it.
As a solution, the selectmen approved Ms. Jenkinson's recommendations to require the Browns to keep muzzles on their dogs when outside the home and to build a fence in the next two weeks to confine them in the yard. The selectmen also stipulated that the Browns should reimburse Mr. Mayhew $75 for his daughter's out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Despite all the talk about animal control, the selectmen provided no update on their progress in hiring a new officer.
Turning to other business, the selectmen approved the ratification of waterways regulation amendments that they voted on last month. At the suggestion of harbormaster John Wilbur and the Harbor Management Committee, the selectmen approved another change in the regulations to allow the option of yearly diver mooring inspections in the outer harbor on Lake Tashmoo in lieu of tri-annual lift inspections.
In other Tashmoo news, John Bugbee announced the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs awarded the town a grant for $87,800 to dredge the lake's channel. A dredging contract for the project came in at $127,800, leaving the town to pay about a $40,000 difference, Mr. Bugbee said. The selectmen voted to accept the grant and fund the project.
Mr. Bugbee also asked for $4,000 to reimburse the Department of Public Works (DPW) for paying for the installation of electricity and plumbing at the new Lagoon Pond boat launch ramp, which were not provided in the state specifications. The selectmen agreed to transfer the funds from available sources.
In department reports, Tisbury Police Officer Tim Stobie offered his first as acting police chief. The selectmen approved his recommendation to reappoint the sergeants and permanent patrolmen for three years, and his request to advertise for a permanent police officer and part-time special police officers.
Officer Stobie also asked about finding a solution for providing parking spaces for year-round police department personnel. He bristled at Selectman Tom Pachico's suggestion that they could use the Park and Ride lot, asking, "Do you use it, sir?"
Mr. Pachico said no, because parking is available where he works, at the town's board of health building. Mr. Bugbee said he would look into some parking possibilities.
In other personnel issues, the selectmen approved hiring part-time Emergency Medical Technician Kathy Perry as a full-time employee. They also approved paying the Tisbury firefighters a training and snow removal stipend, which Fire Chief John Schilling said is available in his budget.
In the town administrator's report, Mr. Bugbee said the police chief search committee plans to conduct six in-person interviews over the next few weeks and then recommend candidates to the selectmen.
In discussing a recent meeting about moving the Park and Ride bus to a better spot near the Steamship Authority Terminal (SSA), Selectman chairman Tristan Israel suggested setting up yet another meeting with the Tisbury police, the Vineyard Transit Authority, and the SSA.
Obviously irritated by Mr. Israel's suggestion, Mr. Pachico reminded him the bus stop location needs to be addressed now, during the busy season.
Regarding plans for the Water Street parking lot, Mr. Bugbee announced the Cecil Group will present an overview of the project at a public meeting today at 10 am in the Katharine Cornell Theatre.
The selectmen agreed to meet again next Tuesday at 5:30 pm instead of the regularly scheduled meeting which would fall on July 4.