Aquinnah selectmen took disciplinary action this week against a dog owner whose Labrador retriever bit a houseguest in the face.

Selectmen learned that a yellow Lab rescue dog, Mac, belonging to Ariana Feldman, bit Benjamin Higgins in the face on Jan. 6 in a social situation, resulting in 32 stitches. Mr. Higgins was visiting Ms. Feldman for dinner. This was the dog’s second biting incident.

Mr. Higgins and Ms. Feldman gave different accounts. Attorney Ken Lie-berman, who represented Mr. Higgins, said Mr. Higgins had been interacting with the dog throughout the night and fed him treats. After dinner he knelt down to give the dog another treat when the dog bit him in the face.

“There was no evidence whatsoever of hostility on the part of the dog,” Mr. Lieberman said. “Ben had been interacting with it, and one time went to feed it again, as he had been doing, and the dog, unprovoked, bit his face.”

Ms. Feldman gave a different account. She said she had warned Mr. Higgins about coming over repeatedly and had said because her dog, Mac, was a rescue dog he has issues with people coming into his space.

“I got up, Mac was asleep on the couch. I don’t know what happened. I was in the same room as Mac and Ben, four feet from the couch,” she said. “When I turned around he was bleeding. I don’t know what happened. There were no treats involved at any point in time, cookie time was over at that point. After the bite, Ben did not want to go to the hospital and I convinced him to go.”

“He’s fine as long as you don’t crowd him — if you stick your face in his face when he’s sleeping . . . that’s why they say let sleeping dogs lie,” she added. “I repeatedly warned Ben not to get in his space. . . . I’m not saying my dog didn’t bite him, I feel horribly that this happened, but the dog does not go around randomly biting people.”

Ms. Feldman said the dog has been around other people and never had a problem. The first incident, which she reported, happened when Mac was 18 months old. A friend had gotten on top of the dog when he snapped at her.

Mac has been training with professional dog trainer, Karen Ogden, since the incident. He is now trained to go to a specific place in the house when a person knocks on the door, Ms. Ogden said.

“He is not a reactive dog, his reaction to my presence is on a scale I’ve worked with and is not at a point where I felt concerned for my safety,” Ms. Ogden said.

Animal control officer Angela Waldron recommended the dog wear a muzzle at all times when off the property and post a “beware of dog” sign on the property. Ms. Feldman said the dog is always leashed when off the property and a fence already exists.

“My only issue is this never happen again,” Ms. Waldron said.

Selectman and chairman of the board accepted Ms. Waldron’s recommendations and said if another incident occurred there would be a harsher punishment.

“If it did in fact happen again, then we’d have to take severe action” Mr. Newman said.

In other business the selectmen approved increasing the rental rates for lots at the cliffs with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). Rates will now be $8.27 per square foot, a four per cent increase over two years ago. The current lease expires next month. The selectmen intended to raise the rental fees last year, but chose not to do so right before the summer season began. Notice has been given, town administrator Adam Wilson said, but no tribal members were present at the meeting.