Owner kills dog after it fatally wounds another dog

Police believe ‘Nika’ was killed by gunshot; No charges expected. 

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A West Tisbury dog was reportedly killed by its owner after it inflicted fatal wounds on another dog. — Rich Saltzberg

Earlier this month a dog was mortally wounded at an automotive garage in West Tisbury when another dog escaped from a vehicle and attacked it. The owner of the aggressor dog subsequently took that dog home, shot it, and buried it, according to town officials. No charges are pending from the dog slaying as it’s lawful for a dog owner to euthanize a dog in Massachusetts, according to West Tisbury police.

No further action is planned, Animal Control Officer Anthony Cordray said, because the accused animal is deceased. Whatever comes next, if anything, is likely to be a civil matter, Cordray said.

At about 9 am on July 13, according to a report, a Deutsch Drahtarr (a breed of German hunting dog), in the vehicle of Scott Bermudes, leapt from that vehicle and reportedly attacked a dog belonging to the owners of Mid-Island Repair, John and Janet Belain. Their dog, “Ronald,” a small 15-year-old male Sheltie, suffered severe wounds to the stomach. Ronald was later taken to Tufts Veterinary School where he underwent “extensive” surgery but ultimately didn’t survive. 

At the scene, a report states that “Mr. Bermudes grabbed his dog, put it in the car, and drove away.”

When Cordray reached out over the phone to order the dog, “Nika,” quarantined for rabies, he was told the dog, which was licensed to Bermudes’ wife, was “euthanized.” Cordray and West Tisbury Police Chief Matt Mincone said they understood Bermudes shot the dog.

When Cordray asked over the phone if he could get a tissue sample to ensure the dog didn’t have rabies, he was told the dog was already buried. 

When Cordray went to the Bermudes residence, he was told by Bermudes’ wife Cynthia, to leave the property and talk to her husband’s lawyer. Cordray subsequently got two calls from Scott Bermudes, according to a report, instructing Cordray to contact Bermudes’ lawyer though no name for a lawyer was given.

Chief Mincone told The Times his department believes Bermudes’ shot the dog by his barn which would put the discharge of a firearm outside a 500-foot radius of an occupied dwelling and therefore not illegal. Chief Mincone also said Bermudes is licensed to have firearms so from a police standpoint, nothing unlawful has occurred.

Scott Bermudes did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The owners of Ronald could not be reached.

24 COMMENTS

    • I understand the need to comment but one day you will understand that being a dog owner comes with many responsibilities. after a tragic incident like this the attacking dog would had been put down anyway. For the love and respect of other people and their animals this has to be done. No sane person would accept the liability of having a dog who could attack again. Read don Keller’s comment and you will understand more.

      • One of the responsibilities of being a dog owner is giving them a peaceful and compassionate end to their lives. We have Vets on this Island who help give animals a peaceful end. We owe them that much. You hold them close, tell them that you love them, and thank them for being your friend and companion, and then they quietly and painlessly leave this world. They are not staring at a gun pointed at them by someone they loved and trusted.

  1. when I lived in Maine, i got a visit from the game warden to tell me that my 2 dogs were ‘”running deer” he said that if he heard about this again, he would put the dogs down and charge me what was at the time about 2 weeks pay for me. I put the dogs on a run, and that lasted for 2 days– on the third day, They ran between my legs and ran off while I called them to come back.
    When i got home that afternoon, they were chewing on deer legs.
    i borrowed a friends shotgun and put both of them down .
    The owner did the responsible thing..
    I know it’s not easy.
    As a responsible dog owner, I have had other dogs, I hope that Mr. Bermudes has other dogs as he is a the quintessential responsible dog owner.

  2. Who shoots their best friend? Their family member? What a totally irresponsible dog owner . If this dog cannot be trained, or kept contained at home, then the responsible and compassionate thing to do is to take him to the Vet and hold him while the Vet gives him a shot and he goes to sleep. This is not the Wild West. Taking his dog home and instead of keeping him safe( and other animals safe from him), he kills him? I hope that he does not have other dogs. God help them if he does.

  3. What PROOF exists that the Bermudes dog was “euthanized” by it’s guardian? Not necessarily the only, or even the correct, solution to this truly tragic situation as all life matters, but this story is based entirely on the word of only one party. Is that enough?

  4. I will miss Ronald He was a friend that always made me smile A very good dog My thoughts are with the Belain families with love and sympathy …Trip Mookie and Monty

    • Thank you for putting the focus where it belongs. On Ronald and his family. This is such a sad story and didn’t have to happen. So tragic

    • Thank you for putting the focus where it belongs. On Ronald and his family. This is such a sad tragic story.

  5. When, oh when, are dogs going to be permanently banned from Martha’s Vineyard?
    These things stopped being “mans best friend” a long time ago.
    Now, nothing but a scourge on society.

  6. The remains of the euthanized dog should have been disinterred and, if in fact found, tested for disease, and animal control should fine the owner the veterinary expenses of the sheltie’s owner.
    As much as we make them a part of our families, dogs are largely creatures of instinct, and we can’t count on the behavior of even good dogs. I’ve been bitten by pugs and poodles and yellow labs when stressed, and dachshunds, which are miserable little bastards, for no reason at all. The notion that an injection at the vet is any kinder or more responsible than an owners bullet is ignorant and asinine; you’ve seen “Old Yeller” too many times.

    • Wait. Didn’t the kid in Old Yeller euthanize his own dog with a bullet? From what I remember the boy loved the dog and insisted on doing it himself after his mother was offered to do it. How would watching that movie encourage people to opt for an injection at the vet?

    • Oh, come on, David. Dachshunds, those miserable little bastards, bite only when they have good reason. Of course, the reason is known only to them. That’s why I keep mine on a leash and under my control at all times. Anytime someone tries to come over to pet “the cute little hotdog” she lets them know she’s thinking up a very good reason right at that moment– or several– and that stops the naive wiener lovers in their tracks. Yes, those miserable little bastards are not friendly, but they’re wonderfully fun and entertaining to live with. You must have broken a secret dachshund rule to have been bitten. Live and learn.

  7. Two island families are grieving the loss of members of said families and none of you negative comments will help them find any relief in their hearts. Give it a break, be respectful.

  8. Except in very rare cases, behavioral problems in dogs are always the human’s fault. Usually due to a total lack of skillfulness on the part of the dog owner, zero obedience training, lack of exercise, (on leash walks morning noon and night) and proper socialization and general cluelessness and ineptitude when it comes to establishing a balanced relationship with their dog. It is the human’s job to teach their dog good manners as they are domesticated animals who live with us as faithful companions. Well mannered humans tend to have well mannered dogs because the dogs take their cues from their human. Exercise, discipline and affection ( in that order) are the basics. Leaving your dog alone all day in the house or tied up in your yard while you’re at work, coming home and letting your dog out into the back yard is no substitute for an on leash walk. A dog left alone for that many hours leads to boredom, frustration and pent up energy which is the cause of most behavioral issues (as well as physical ones, like skin conditions, , barking, jumping up on people, chewing, digging, getting into the garbage running away – and can lead to aggression and fighting or worse as in this case.
    Having a dog is a huge responsibility. I always feel sad when innocent animals have to pay the price for human ignorance.
    None of this was the dog’s fault.

  9. Deepest love, sympathy, and peace to the Belain family who are grieving the murder and loss of their beloved dog, Randall. RIP

    That’s all that is verified.

  10. What a terribly sad story for all concerned – humans and dogs alike.
    Kenny, Janet, and your family: I am so, so sorry for your loss. We always loved being greeted by your sweet, cute, fluffy little pal. He always brought a smile, even on a grey and busy day. Sending heartfelt condolences to you all.

  11. Sincere condolences to Janet and Kenny and the family. Ronald was a most welcome fixture at Mid-Island and he will be sorely missed by all. Shelties are the best! Mine has been gone over a decade..

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