Edgartown Police hunt for missing dog

Australian cattle dog allegedly abused, placed in third-party care, then vanishes.

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Max, an Australian cattle dog, was allegedly abused by its owner and now is missing. - Courtesy Edgartown Police

Updated 7/29

Edgartown Police are searching for a missing dog that was allegedly abused by a Rhode Island man. The man was arrested Saturday after witnesses called police to report a man kicking a dog on Upper Main Street.

On Monday, Jay Michael Linhares was arraigned in Edgartown District Court on charges of animal cruelty and disorderly conduct. He pleaded not guilty, and was released on his personal recognizance. 

In his report on the incident, Edgartown Police Officer Ryan Ruley said he observed a man who was later identified as Linhares walking a dog on a leash, according to a report.

“I observed the dog attempt to slow its pace several times but Linhares would pull tightly with two hands on the leash, causing the dog’s neck and head to lurch forward,” a report states. “Each time, Linhares would raise his voice to the dog. The last time he pulled the dog so tight, he lost his balance, and a ‘nip’ of Fireball whiskey fell out of his pocket. I then stopped and ordered Linhares to cross the street and meet me in the parking area. Once parked, I exited my cruiser and approached Linhares and the dog. I explained the reasoning for my wanting to speak with him. Linhares stated that it was impossible, he loves his dog, and would never hurt him. Linhares stated that he only pulls on the leash when the dog needs a correction, and sometimes he raises his voice. I asked about the two-hand ‘redirection technique’ that I observed. Linhares stated, ‘Some dogs need to be shown who’s boss.’ I asked if by showing him who was the boss, he meant that it was OK to kick or raise his hand to the dog. Linhares denied ever acting like that.”

After another police officer arrived on scene with the assistant animal control officer, the dog was identified as a year-and-a-half-old Australian cattle dog named Max. Tags showed Max was registered in Tiverton, RI. 

The dog was found to have been kept from water on what was a hot day. 

“During our interaction,” a report states, “the dog would attempt to be in as much shade as possible, and when lying down, it would move suddenly when Linhares would move his feet in the slightest way. The dog was panting, and had no access to water. Linhares confirmed the dog had not had access to food or water since earlier in the morning at 9 am (over three hours). It should be noted that it was very hot, with the temperature around 85°. The pavement was very hot, and it may have contributed to why the dog continued to try to lay down in the shade.”

Linhares allegedly told police he was staying on a boat anchored in the Tisbury Lagoon. While still on scene, Ruley phoned a witness, and found her distraught and crying, a report states. 

“I could hear her crying when telling me that she witnessed Linhares continuously kick the dog in its side,” a report states. “[The witness] and her [companion] were concerned and afraid to approach Linhares, as they believed he may have been intoxicated. [The witness] stated that his actions and abuse toward the dog were deplorable and shocking, and in no way did she feel he should be able to have custody of the dog.” 

Ruley contacted another witness who, according to a report, said she and her companion’s “attention were drawn to Linhares as they heard him yelling loudly at the dog, and he continued to raise his hand in the air as if he was going to strike the dog. Each time he did this, the dog would cower to the ground in fear. [The witness] also reported that they were fearful to approach as they believed Linhares may be intoxicated or mentally unstable.” 

After assessing witness statements and other factors, Ruley determined Linhares would be arrested on animal cruelty and disorderly conduct charges. 

“The dog was taken into custody by Assistant ACO Kathryn Kennedy,” a report states.  “Kennedy stated that she would be in contact with the Animal Rescue League, and that the dog would be transported to the on-call vet for an evaluation.”

Linhares was taken to the Dukes County jail, where he was booked. 

Another member of Edgartown’s animal control department transported Max to Vineyard Veterinary Clinic for a clinical evaluation by Dr. Corin Lowell. 

“It was reported by Lowell that a thorough examination was difficult, as the dog was ‘reactive and fearful’ during her interaction,” the report states.

Linhares was subsequently released on personal recognizance.  

He was later subject to a judicial stay-away order relative to the dog, according to Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee. The dog was placed in the care of a third party, per judicial order, and has subsequently disappeared, the chief said. A search for Max is ongoing. 

Linhares is due back in court on Sept. 18. 

Updated to make it clear that it was the court and not the police that ordered the dog held by a third party.