Edgartown animal control officer says zebras and giraffes, oh my

A seasonal resident who owns a farm has inquired about bringing an undetermined number of the animals to the Island.

Animal control officer Barbara Prada presented her quarterly report to selectmen on Monday. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Edgartown animal control officer (ACO) Barbara Prada gave her regular quarterly report to selectmen, who met Tuesday evening. The usual account of lost cats and misbehaving dogs included an unusual call in October that may necessitate the need for a bigger noose.

“There’s a very wealthy woman, apparently, from Argentina, who bought half of Herring Creek Farm,” Ms. Prada said. “She’s been looking into bringing zebras and giraffes here.”

The woman, whom Ms. Prada said she could not identify, has already had officials from a local zoo examine the property. Ms. Prada said that she doesn’t believe the woman fully understands all of the permitting hoops she would have to jump through to be allowed to have such animals on the Island, or even to bring them into the country.

“I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that it’s not going to happen,” she said.

Selectmen laughed in surprise at the proposal but offered no opinions.

In total, last year Ms. Prada’s office fielded 1,373 calls. Seventy-two dogs were impounded, as were 11 cats. Six dog bites and three cat bites were reported.

Ms. Prada and selectmen also agreed to hold a hearing on Monday, Feb. 8 at 4 pm for a 5-year-old pitbull named Jaxx who bit an Edgartown man in an unprovoked attack in December.

Ms. Prada previously told The Times that a hearing could result in a number of disciplinary actions, ranging from requiring the dog to wear a muzzle up to euthanizing.

In other business, selectmen agreed to sign a letter in support of a request to state lawmakers that would allow the regional refuse district to borrow $2.5 million for capital improvements to the district’s Edgartown transfer station.

In 2015, voters in the four towns that make up the refuse district — Edgartown, West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah — authorized the issuance of bonds, but voter approval was not made within the 45-day time period required once the refuse district committee approved the borrowing. Representative Tim Madden will attempt to alter the timeline in a bill in the Massachusetts legislature.

“If we do this, we won’t have to fiddle with it at town meeting,” said Martha’s Vineyard Refuse District director Don Hatch.

Martha’s Vineyard Television (MVTV) board member Peter Vincent also gave selectmen an update on how the television network is operating. Mr. Vincent told selectmen that the installation of a kitchen studio is under way, and is expected to be complete in approximately 90 days. MVTV plans to use the kitchen to film cooking shows.

The studio is also moving toward sustainability.

“We’re finishing up putting up solar panels on the roof, which we anticipate will give us 90 to 100 percent of our electricity in the future,” Mr. Vincent said.

In total, MVTV aired 511 community-produced shows on channel 13, 511 sports and education shows on channel 14, and 321 governmental programs on channel 15.

“The new studio is working out beautifully,” Mr. Vincent said.