‘Dangerous’ dogs euthanized

Judge upholds Oak Bluffs decision on Rosie and Sasha.

A judge has ordered that Hillary Seaton's dog Sasha be euthanized after the latest court appeal. – Gabrielle Mannino

Updated April 20

Two dogs that were deemed dangerous by Oak Bluffs selectmen, a decision supported by both a clerk magistrate and a judge, are dead.

Rosie and Sasha were euthanized on Thursday evening, Oak Bluffs town administrator Robert Whritenour confirmed.

“The selectmen were put in a difficult position,” Whritenour said, noting that there was no way to protect the public if the dogs were allowed to remain with their owners. “It’s just unfortunate all the way around.”

On April 13, Edgartown District Court Judge Thomas Kirkman upheld the decision by Oak Bluffs that two pit bulls involved in a vicious attack on a smaller dog were dangerous and should be put to death. His decision followed a similar ruling by Dukes County Superior Court Clerk Joseph Sollitto.

The dogs, Rosie and Sasha, were euthanized by a veterinarian at Animal Health Care in West Tisbury, where they’ve been held during the legal proceedings, Animal Control Officer Patty Grant told The Times Thursday.

Kirkman issued his orders April 13 in separate cases involving Rosie, owned by Kaitlyn Seaton, and Sasha, owned by Hillary Seaton. The two decisions go through the facts of the case, and Kirkman indicated that his finding was limited to three choices — dismiss the case, find the dogs to be nuisance, or find them to be dangerous.

“Based on all the evidence in this case, I find Rosie to be a dangerous dog within the meaning of the statue and affirm the town’s order of euthanization,” the decision states. The other order has identical wording, except Sasha’s name is substituted for Rosie.

Fighting back tears, Kaitlyn Seaton called the judge’s decision unfair. “I’m going to miss my dog more than anything,” she said. “I did everything to fight for her life, and it wasn’t enough.”

Kaitlyn Seaton said she could have appealed to superior court, but it’s too expensive. She said she would not be at the vet when her dog gets euthanized. “I don’t think I could handle it right now,” she said.

Selectmen ruled on Dec. 12 that the dogs posed a threat and should be put to death.

On Nov. 24, the two dogs viciously attacked Toby, a 10-year-old cockapoo, owned by John Stevenson as he was walking the dog past the Seaton house on Worcester Avenue.

Toby had numerous puncture holes on his back, his front right leg, and his left hind leg. Much of the skin was torn off his back, and half of his left ear was bitten off.

Stevenson’s dog was taken to Bourne’s Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists for extensive emergency surgery, where medical bills in excess of $10,000 were wracked up, according to court testimony, to keep the dog alive.

In his ruling, Kirkman found there was credible evidence of other incidents involving the dogs as well.


  1. So we are asked to believe that dogs by nature are never vicious and the fault is always with their owners who cause their misbehviour. So maybe man by nature is good and the environment is what cause him to go wrong. I get it.

    • A: So we are asked to believe that dogs by nature are never vicious and the fault is always with their owners who cause their misbehviour (sp).
      Response: An owner buys a pit bull. Do we accept the excuse that the owner never read reports on how many pets, children, and adults pit bulls have mauled (some lethally), or confiscate and euthanize the owner?

      A: So maybe man by nature is good and the environment is what cause him to go wrong.
      Response: Except man creates the environment. Therefore, man cannot be trusted with pets.

    • The breed is not the issue either. The people did not know how to train, handle or care for the dogs properly. Disaster was inevitable.

    • Andrew– you seem to believe that some groups of people are inherently evil or inferior.
      Dogs also ?
      I guess we can blame “god” for it– after all, she created the pit bull at the same time she created man —-about 6,000 years ago. Right ? Excuse me if I am “macroagressing” you. Happy earth day..

          • The environment and climate change is a social, economic and political issue. It is not a moral issue

          • Andrew: Walking away after messing with the environment and leaving the cost of cleanup and increased health expense for others is not a moral issue? It certainly isn’t behaving responsibly like we expect of dog owners.

        • You are correct. Insurance companies are the ones who get dinged financially when a homeowner’s dog bites someone. In order to avoid risks that statistically result in claims policy questions will ask: do you have a pool, trampoline, wood stove or a dog. If the answer to any is yes, further questions ask for the breed. Many insurance companies will refuse to accept an applicant, due to liability (from past actions) of pit bulls, german shephards, rotweilers, akita, Doberman, and even little ones like chihuaha and jack russels. I’m sure most can be made into good pets, however their propensity to bite drives the insurance company decision. For the most part, dogs reflect their owners. Nice responsible people have nice dogs.

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