On the recommendation of Animal Control Officer Anthony Cordray, West Tisbury selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday evening to declare a German shepherd from Dr. Fisher Road a dangerous dog. The dog allegedly bit a juvenile.
Cordray told The Times Thursday morning that even before the biting incident, the dog posed a problem by menacing people who walked along Dr. Fisher Road with and without dogs. The dog was ordered fenced in.
“First of all, I want to apologize for the dog biting the young man,” dog owner Jim Bishop said. “It was not [the boy’s] fault. I have made arrangements on Friday to go off and pick up fencing. To fence in the area behind the house along our property — about 600 feet of fence. And my guys will install it over the next week, and that’s the only area she’ll be allowed out in. I can’t say enough, she’s never been that aggressive.”
Bishop said the dog, whose name is Stella, was a rescue who bonded to and is very protective of his wife. He said his wife was planting trees nearby when the incident occured. “Nothing like that should ever happen, and no one should be afraid,” he said.
Selectmen chair Cynthia Mitchell asked Cordray if he was satisfied with what Bishop intended to do.
Cordray said he wanted the owner to secure $100,000 liability insurance for the dog or provide proof of the attempt if it’s infeasible. He said he wanted the fence at least 6 feet tall, durable, and constructed to make escape unlikely. He also said if the dog were to be outside the fence, it must be “leash-walked” and “not off the leash at any time.”
Cordray also said he wanted the dog to have a tattoo, microchip, collar, or vest identifying it as a dangerous dog, and at the very least, the dog’s veterinarian must be made aware of the dog’s dangerousness.
After neighbors vented their concerns about Stella, Bishop reiterated the juvenile never should have been bitten and the dog will never again be unsecured. He said the dog is chipped and has an ID collar. Bishop said he intended to muzzle Stella when on a leash, too.
Bishop was given a week to erect the fence.
Cordray told The Times because the bite victim was a juvenile, that person’s name would not be disclosed.