Animal control officer on duty again in Oak Bluffs

— File photo by Mae Deary

Oak Bluffs selectmen approved the hiring of an animal control officer, Anthony BenDavid, at their Tuesday meeting. He is the town’s the first full-time officer in more than three years.

Struggling with budget constraints, town officials tried a series of stop-gap measures which were met with numerous complaints and criticism. The new officer will begin duties immediately.

“He couldn’t have come more highly recommended,” police chief Erik Blake said. “The police department is still working out procedures for contacting the animal control officer.”

“I think people forget, it’s been so long,” selectman Gail Barmakian said.

In other action Tuesday, selectmen agreed to allow longer bar hours on the July 4th and Labor Day holidays. Chief Blake said there were no problems on Memorial Day weekend, when hours were extended.

On the Friday and Saturday before July 4th, on the July 4th holiday, and the Friday and Saturday following the holiday, doors will be closed, and no entry allowed after 1:30 am. Bars will close and all patrons must leave at 2 am. On the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Labor Day, the same hours will apply.

Selectmen approved a Sunday entertainment license for The Pit Stop. Proprietor Donald Muckerheide said the new music venue on Dukes County Avenue intends to add a Sunday afternoon jazz series. Also approved was a license to serve packaged foods.

Selectmen reviewed their decision to grant a taxi driver’s license to Curvyann Torain two weeks earlier. Police recommended denying the license, because she was involved in an altercation while on duty. Selectmen let that decision stand, after Ms. Torain’s court case was continued without a finding.

The meeting ended with a long, and sometimes contentious discussion with residents of the North Bluff, who questioned recent changes in parking regulations in their neighborhood.