On the recommendation of Animal Control Officer Kate Hoffman, the Tisbury select board voted unanimously on Wednesday to deem Koda, a 3-year-old husky, a nuisance dog after it mauled three chickens. Hoffman told the board Koda has a documented history of menacing birds like chickens and wild turkeys, but he wasn’t a danger to people.
At a hearing preceding the board’s vote, Hoffman said she responded to a residence on Cook Road on June 29. Hofffman said she rendezvoused with Tisbury Police and explored the scene.
“As I was walking in the backyard, there were feathers everywhere,” Hoffman said. “It was a mess … one of the children was cradling one of the chickens, crying.”
Hoffman learned there were three injured chickens, and that the rest had scattered. The injured chickens were later euthanized, Hoffman later told The Times. Hoffman said the dog’s owner, David Dunbar, eventually showed up and got the dog in his car and drove him home to Rogers Farm Road.
When Hoffman visited Dunbar, she described him as being “extremely apologetic.”
Dunbar alleged Koda broke his leash, Hoffman said. She subsequently issued him a $25 citation for having an unrestrained dog.
Dunbar also paid $130 restitution for the chickens, a sum greater than requested, Hoffman noted.
The Warner family, who owned the chickens, nevertheless filed a complaint.
Hoffman said the dog may have developed a “blood lust” regarding poultry. “I think this has gone beyond a nuisance, ” William Warner said. “I think this dog is dangerous. You can’t trust the dog. And when it gets out, the first thing it does is come to my chicken coop.”
David Dunbar said, “I apologize again for this happening.”
Dunbar said that Koda bit through his leash while he was talking with someone, and as a result he ordered chain leashes.
When he got to the Warner residence, William Warner and his son were “very angry” and “rightfully so,” Dunbar said. William Warner allegedly “punched” his car “a couple times” and Dunbar said he told him to calm down.
Dunbar said his dogs (Koda and Sasha) aren’t vicious, and that he’s built a pen and installed storm doors to help contain them.
Dawn Warner said Dunbar’s dogs have been on her family’s property several times. “They try to dig under the coop,” she said.
Among other things, Dunbar was ordered to add 40 square feet to the 160-square-foot dog enclosure he already has at his home. He was ordered to have Koda licensed and neutered. He was also ordered not to walk Koda without a leash.
Hoffman said if another incident occurs, she may recommend the board hold a dangerous hearing for Koda.
Select board member Larry Gomez said he found the recommendations “fairly reasonable and doable.”
“I think this board has a short leash with dealing with this in the future,” select board chair Jeff Kristal said. “If we have to deal with this again, I’m afraid that some people will not like the outcome that this board comes up with.”
“I just hope these recommendations work,” William Warner said, “but if they don’t I’m going to be really upset.”
In other business, the board approved Patrick Souza as a full-fledged police officer following his academy graduation. Souza was previously a special police officer.