West Tisbury selectmen on Wednesday said they supported a zero tolerance policy for a Siberian husky who got loose earlier this year and killed chickens on two occasions in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven.
The husky, whose name is Mussa, now lives in West Tisbury with her owner Rebecca Garde. And while there have been no incidents, animal control officer Joan Jenkinson issued strong words of caution about the dog to the selectmen this week.
“This behavior cannot be trained out of an animal,” Ms. Jenkinson said. “I’ll probably be stoned for saying this, but my recommendation for the dog if it were to be caught loose anywhere near livestock again would be [humane] euthanization.”
“You’re not going to stop this type of dog from doing this again if she gets loose,” she added.
Mussa found herself in trouble with both Tisbury and Oak Bluffs selectmen earlier this year after getting loose and killing several chickens along with another Siberian husky named Storm. In August the two dogs killed four chickens on Chase Road in Vineyard Haven, and in September they killed 15 chickens at a farm in Oak Bluffs.
Storm, who is owned by Ken and Nina Garde of Vineyard Haven, is the father of Mussa. At a hearing on Sept. 9, Oak Bluffs selectmen ordered Storm be taken off the Island immediately. The selectmen ordered Mussa to be kept in a secure pen made of concrete and chain fencing at Rebecca Garde’s West Tisbury home. Ms. Garde agreed to take the necessary steps to secure her pet, and there have been no incidents since.
Selectmen on Wednesday had their owns words of caution.
“I do not support moving a dangerous dog from one town to another,” said chairman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter. “That doesn’t sit well with me.”
Ms. Jenkinson said she spoke with Ms. Garde who seemed “very serious” about taking the proper steps to secure the dog.
Mr. Manter and selectman Dianne Powers agreed they would be inclined to follow Ms. Jenkinson’s recommendation to humanely euthanize Mussa if the animal got loose again and killed chickens.
But selectman Richard Knabel wasn’t so sure.
“It’s beginning to smell like the Old West here, where they say give them a fair trial and then hang them,” he said.
In the end selectmen agreed that a public hearing will be held immediately if Mussa gets loose again.