Dog fights, bites on the rise in 2013 in Edgartown

It was a busy summer for Edgartown animal control officer Barbara Prada, shown Wednesday at the pound with Duke, a wayward Lab. — By Michelle Gross

Animal control officer (ACO) Barbara Prada reported to Edgartown selectmen that dog, bat, rat, and raccoon calls have increased during the spring and summer of 2013.

Animal control received a total of 593 dog-related calls between April and September, up from 585 in 2012, as well as an increase in dog-on-dog fighting and biting incidents.

“It was a rough summer, it really was,” Ms. Prada told selectmen Monday.

In addition to her job as an animal control officer, Ms. Prada has been a state-designated animal inspector for 32 years.

The process for catching bats involves euthanizing them before sending them to a lab to test for rabies, Ms. Prada said. State law requires that the bats get tested when they are found in a house inhabited by small children, mentally handicapped people, pets, or where anyone is sleeping, intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs at the time the bats are trapped. “Fortunately, the bats all tested negative,” Ms. Prada told selectmen.

On the decline, animal control received just 91 cat-related calls in 2013, a significant decrease from 148 calls over the same time period in 2012.

Town leash law violators also dropped from 70 in 2012 to 52 in 2013.

Ms. Prada attributes the curb in violations to a state law that was approved October 31, 2012, that nearly doubles the fines of first-time offenders.

In a telephone conversation with The Times Tuesday, Ms. Prada discussed a few of this year’s animal trends. “There were just a lot of dogs behaving badly,” she said. “It typically goes in cycles. This year was particularly bad because of a few specific incidents that occurred.”

Ms. Prada recounted one such incident that occurred in May, which left one miniature horse dead and another with wounds to his neck and body. An American bulldog was found responsible for the vicious attack, and it was euthanized.

Cape Light Compact

In other news, Cape Light Compact (CLC) administrator Maggie Downey reviewed for selectmen the CLC’s energy efficiency program.

CLC is a public regional energy services organization created in 1997 to use the combined buying power of the region’s 200,000 electricity consumers to negotiate for lower priced electricity and other public benefits related to energy.

Ms. Downey told selectmen that 189 Edgartown CLC customers who participated in the power supply program saved a total of $96,000 in electricity costs in 2012. The CLC report also found a $2,800 savings in electricity costs through the use of solar energy at the Edgartown Elementary School. The report also projected a $23,835 energy savings with the switch of 288 municipal streetlights to LED lights in 2014.

“It’s best to engage early on so that you can maximize the funds available during design and construction,” Ms. Downey said.

CLC is authorized by the 21 towns on the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard to choose the electric supplier for their residents and businesses. The Compact buys its electricity from supplier ConEdison Solutions, based in White Plains, N.Y.

Edgartown lighthouse

In other business, town administrator Pamela Dolby told selectmen that the town can now purchase the Edgartown Lighthouse.

The federal government declared the lighthouse surplus property and offered it at a public auction in 2012.

“It’s been slowed down because of the shutdown,” Ms. Dolby told selectmen. “But it’s coming. We can finally own Edgartown Lighthouse.”

The purchase of the lighthouse will be subject to a town meeting vote.