No charges in alleged dog stabbing


Police are not seeking criminal charges against a man who is accused of stabbing an Australian shepherd in Tisbury on Wednesday.

In an initial report made to Tisbury Police Wednesday morning, MacAleer Schilcher said he was walking his dog, Fox, near the Department of Public Works in Tisbury at the time of the incident. 

Schilcher told responding officers that his dog had been stabbed by an unknown male who had been accompanied by his own dog, a black pit bull. 

On Wednesday, Schilcher told The Times that after the attack, Fox immediately underwent emergency surgery for the wounds sustained at My Pets Vet, which he said included a cut artery on his snout.

A fundraising campaign has since raised $1,000 to help pay for the veterinary bills. But Schilcher, in a statement to The Times, says that the moment the Tisbury Police issued a press release on Friday, the fundraising campaign was marked fraudulent. 

The Tisbury Police press release states that according to the owner of the pit bull, whose name is being withheld, Schilcher’s dog attacked the pit bull first. 

In his statement to police, the man accused of attacking Fox claims that the altercation started when his dog, a black pit bull, was bitten by Schilcher’s dog. 

Schilcher denies this, saying his dog would never attack another dog.

According to the press release issued by police, the unnamed man stated that he was walking the pit bull on a leash when Schilcher’s dog, which was not on a leash, “attacked” the pit bull “by biting him on the head.”

The owner of the pit bull told police that he “tried to stop the attack, and the Aussie then left, but quickly returned and started to attack the pit bull again,” the release states.

According to the release, the man then “armed himself with a knife to protect himself and the pit bull from the Aussie.”

It was during this encounter, the unnamed man said, “the Aussie lunged at [his] hand that was holding the knife,” which led to the cut on its snout. 

According to the owner of the pit bull, Schilcher then threatened the man with a rock. The unnamed man then left the scene “to avoid the confrontation.” 

The Tisbury Police release states that officers did identify bite marks on the pit bull’s head, but the injuries did not seem serious enough to need immediate medical attention.

In a statement to The Times, Schilcher called the press release issued by police on Friday “inaccurate, harmful, and negligent,” and an attempt to slander his name. Schilcher is running for a seat on the Tisbury select board. 

He also says that police issued the release on Friday without appropriately taking his side of the story, although police say that he made multiple unwritten statements.

Schilcher says that he has also filed a criminal complaint against Tisbury Police and town manager Jay Grande with the U.S. Department of Justice for harassment.



  1. Fox got off easy. The owner of the pit could have just let his dog go, and let the dogs work it out.

  2. It might be a good idea to leash some people as well. I hope Mr. Schilcher will submit an account of what went down from his perspective.

  3. There is a reason we have leash laws, which many dog owners feel does not apply to them. I am constantly having to deal with big dogs running up and jumping on me – and often get serious attitude from the owner, never an apology.

    I agree – keep control of your dog; obey the laws of the town; be considerate to others and leash your dogs when walking in public! This sort of thing could be avoided.

  4. Gee, if the dog were leashed, like we KNOW the dog was either required to be or by common sense would be safer and happier to be, none of this would have happened. Martha’s Vineyard maintains the most egregious violations of leashing I have seen almost anywhere. You would think they would be ok with anything happening to their dog, because, well, when a dog is unleashed, it might be “free” but it’s not going to be a safe dog under the control and protection of its owner.

  5. Leash leash leash, it seems interesting that the owner who leashed his dog is the one who submitted a report? Also, to suggest that the owner of the pit should have just let his dog go and “let them work it out” is utterly irresponsible, reckless, and just plain stupid, but the reader who suggested that strategy knows that, and just wants to stir the pot.

    • There’s a world of difference between should and could. To me, Mr. Keller wasn’t stirring the pot at all; he was merely pointing out that had the guy holding the leash reacted differently, the aggressive Aussie would have found that he’d bitten off more than he could chew.

      • Tom
        Thanks for pointing out that I did indeed say “could have” and not “should have”. I think that point carries more weight than if I had said it.
        There are certainly many “could haves” in this story.
        It could have been much worse.
        It seems the police could charge Schilcher with assault for picking up “a large rock” and threatening the unnamed pit owner with it.
        If true, that is clearly assault and Schilcher “should” be charged with it.
        And by the way, is animal control putting any restrictions of Fox ?
        Aggressive dog, irresponsible and apparently aggressive owner, and no mention of any legal consequences or restrictions for that ?
        Even so little as a citation for having an unleashed dog ?

  6. I have canine phobia of the worst kind………… and i dont walk around with a knife worried about another dog attacking mine….. a lil overboard on the knife situation????? leash or unleashed, a bit unnerving knowing thats all it takes to start wielding a knife around……….. 🙁 what happened to other dog thats being abused…. does anyone care about that dog???????

    • People carry knives for all sorts of reasons–
      Dolores -The way your comment is worded, it seems you think the pitbull is being abused.
      Am I reading that correctly ?
      If so, who is abusing it and what is the nature of the abuse ?
      Perhaps you agree with me somewhat.
      I personally think that preventing your dog from defending itself while it is under attack could be considered abusive. But ultimately the owner put himself at risk to defend his dog. In my mind, that would seem to preclude any allegation that the unnamed owner is abuse to that dog.

  7. We repeatedly come across unleashed dogs while we are walking in the woods. I have a walking stick that I cross in front of my legs to prevent aggressive dogs as a deterrent to their aggression and as well to fend off happy jumpers. I have been blessed having encountered less than a handful of aggressive dogs in the past 30 yrs. but I am always vigilant.

    Now, most dogs are interested if you are part of their pack and will do the bark then sniff with the occasional looking back at the owner for any sign of what to do. With the encounter of dogs meeting on the hiking trails, it is always best to keep them on leashes as even the most docile dog at home can become aggressive under the right circumstances.
    Neutering and spaying dogs also helps reduce their aggressive behavior as well as unwanted puppies.
    Happy trails.

  8. Another case of people behaving as if ‘the laws/rules don’t apply to me.’ So many times my little alpha Westie has shown me that he doesn’t like other dogs. Both leashed and unleashed dogs scare him so out of respect for him, the other dogs and their owners, I tell them quickly and firmly ‘he doesn’t care for other dogs so we’ll just walk over here so they don’t meet’. Try saying that quickly enough so everyone’s clear on that point and especially to the owners whose unleashed canines are bounding toward us! There’s a really good chance they won’t “work it out” and with him being 15 pounds, I’m not taking the chance. This is another sad reminder that we as owners need to obey the leash laws. I hope Fox’s wounds heal and everyone comes out of this traumatic situation a little wiser.

  9. This story sounds very one sided. Yes, both dogs should be leashed, I agree with that but a pit bull who’s owner carries a knife???? Why?? It sounds like it may not have been the dogs that were the aggressors in this situation!!

  10. This guy’s reaction is to go online ( Islanders talk) and blame the wrong person/dog (me and Daisy) and he is running for office. This guy can’t be trusted to hold public office.

  11. Hope fox recovers quick. Strange story, two grown up man not able to control a unleashed small dog, and another bigger on the leash at a point to put out a knife. How long was the knife? Legal enough to be caring around?

  12. If it was the Pitbull that did this you’d all be asking for its head on a pike. Not every dog is a happy, playful pup. If the pit had been seriously hurt or the guy had been bitten to the point of stitches or worse there’d be a different theme when it comes to the Aussie. I was attacked by a dog as a child and required 32 stitches on my face and forehead. I don’t agree with the man stabbing the dog, but in his defense these things can go much worse and in an emergency situation you panic. I am a dog owner now, and I keep my dog on a lead when in the yard and a leash when we go out.

  13. Dog should be on leashes because it is the law but actually dogs behave much better when not on leashes. If you go to a Dog park you see every type of dog from huge and aggressive to tiny and meek and they all get along. Pit bulls, mastiffs, yorkies—-all of them. It is when they are on leashes that they behave badly some of them. If have been to many dog parks and never seen a confrontation.

    • I find this claim of never having seen a dog on dog confrontation at a dog park dubious at best. Before my doggo went over the rainbow bridge, we were pretty much everyday regulars at Trade Winds. Saw plenty of dog on dog confrontations. To many to count actually…

        • Yeah, you can claim it’s your experience, I just find it questionable that your claim is having been to many dog parks and never saw a confrontation

    • Andy– I agree with you for the most part, but in this case it was the dog off the leash that was behaving badly.

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