Tisbury’s board of directors voted unanimously on Tuesday night to declare a White German Shepherd named Ranger a dangerous dog following two incidents of biting near the Black Dog Tavern.
In a 2-1 vote, the board stopped ahead of a euthanasia order and set several conditions for Ranger and his owner, Andrea Peraino. Selected board member Roy Cutrer, who expressed fears that Ranger would “fatally injure a young child,” was the dissenting vote. The vote took place after an audience in which two female bite victims gave moving testimony about what they each described as surprise attacks from behind by Ranger that injured and shook them.
Peraino testified about actions she took in the wake of the bites, including enrolling Ranger in a behavior modification program and building a three-way entry point for better containment. Peraino’s attorney, Stephen Cohen of Boston Dog Lawyers, did not dispute the bites. Cohen told the board that the bites inflicted by Ranger, while “horrible”, had not reached such a level that Ranger could be considered an “extremely dangerous” dog. He pleaded for “corrective action” and pointed out that Peraino had already taken significant steps to ensure that Ranger did not bite anyone else.
Selected board member Larry Gomez agreed the injuries inflicted by the dog were serious. He went so far as to say that he was “horrified” by the photographs of one of the victim’s injuries. Gomez said he was sorry for the two women who were bitten.
The first of the two bite victims testified that she was a dog lover who “is afraid of dogs now”.
The woman said, “After I looked down and saw those big white teeth dig into my flesh, it’s not something that I can easily forget. She said she found it “mind-boggling” that someone else could be bitten by the same dog in the same area just two days after being bitten.
“I really wonder if the people who own and care for this dog understand how dangerous he is to the community,” she said.
Tisbury Animal Control Officer Kate Hoffman told council that the appeal regarding the first bite incident arrived on May 26 from Peraino. When Hoffman arrived at the scene, which was outside Peraino’s apartment at 20 Beach St. Extension, she said Peraino told her that Ranger walked through a door and bit a woman on the leg. . The victim had already left for the hospital, Hoffman said. Hoffman said she fined Peraino $ 25 for an off-leash dog and $ 25 for an unlicensed dog, and placed Ranger in “10-day home rabies quarantine.”
In an interview with the victim, Hoffman said he was told that an all-white German Shepherd ran down an outside staircase and bit the woman in the “right thigh and butt” as she walked up. towards the entrance of the Black Dog. Tavern.
“She was treated at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for puncture wounds, scrapes and bruises,” Hoffman said. She added that the victim had received a tetanus vaccine and a dose of antibiotics.
The second bite victim got angry when she told the council what had happened to her and started to cry. She finally turned off her camera to testify.
She described herself as a dog lover who coincidentally had two White German Shepherds recently slaughtered for health reasons.
The second woman said she thought she was hit by a car until the dog growls and shakes her head, biting her “several times and ripping off her pants.”
She said the attack left her with post-traumatic stress disorder. She expressed bemusement over how the dog could escape home quarantine and said Ranger, in her view, was a danger to anyone in the area.
Hoffmann said May 28, a call arrived from the sheriff’s communications center about another bite incident. Hoffman said she arrived at the scene to find the victim being treated by Tisbury EMS. Hoffman interviewed the victim at the scene and learned she was parking a bicycle outside the Black Dog Tavern when the dog burst through a door, ran down an outside staircase and bit the woman in the thigh before running away , with Peraino in pursuit. .
“She described the dog as a large white German Shepherd,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman said the victim received additional treatment in a doctor’s office, including antibiotics and a tetanus vaccine.
Ranger was quarantined in the city kennel until June 5, Hoffman said and Peraino was once again fined under the city’s leash law. Hoffman said there was also a charge of $ 35 per day for boarding the dog at the kennel.
Hoffman said photographs of the injuries of the two victims “showed very severe bruises with visible tooth marks.”
Peraino said she understood the victims’ point of view. “There is no denying that this is a terrible situation – absolutely not,” she said. “It’s horrible.”
Peraino said the dog was not at fault, that a “three-point secure entrance” was in place in another part of the apartment where they had been living for some time. However, she said she and her boyfriend had recently gained access to another area of the building, which was served by a screen door with a “faulty latch”. It was that door that Ranger had gone through, she pointed out.
Cohen told the board that Peraino spent $ 5,000 on a Ranger behavior modification program, neutered and treated him. Cohen noted that the screen door and the stairs leading up to it have recently been reconstructed with a three-way entry point. He took a photograph of the work.
Cutrer expressed concern over the city’s responsibility if the dog bites another person. “A dog of this nature shouldn’t be in a crowded area,” Cutrer said. “I see fencing and the improvements that have been made to try to prevent that from happening, but the key word is to try. You can’t guarantee it won’t happen again… what if next time it’s a young child? What if it was a toddler? “
Town attorney David Doneski informed council he could not exclude Tisbury’s liability if the dog bites someone again. “Our lives would be destroyed if this dog injured a child,” Peraino said. “We will never allow that.”
Although the prospect of a dog euthanasia order weighed on the procedure, the board chose to follow Hoffman’s recommendations.
Among the conditions adopted by the council were the requirement of durable double-gate entrances where the dog lives, that the dog wear a basket muzzle outside the house, that it be attached with a leash of a tensile strength of at least 300 pounds and that it carries a dangerous dog. collar or harness. In addition, Ranger must be registered in the municipality he is going to if his owner moves. The owner must insure Ranger against liability for at least $ 100,000. The conditions will be found to be statewide, and if another bite occurs, Tisbury’s animal control officer can seize Ranger.
The board’s decision did not suit the first bite victim. “I think it’s really very disrespectful to say that next time there will be an insurance policy and action will be taken,” she said. “Meanwhile, the two of us are still treating this dog’s wounds. I am just puzzled.
Brigham becomes second in command
On the recommendation of Acting Police Chief Christopher Habekost, the board voted unanimously to appoint Det. Bill Brigham to acting lieutenant for a period of up to six months.
Habekost told the board that Brigham “has done a very good job” in the department and has “a wealth of knowledge and experience”.
Habekost said he had a good working relationship with Brigham.
Brigham thanked City Manager Jay Grande and the Board of Directors. He said he was excited to work with Habekost.
“I think it will be a very good team,” he said. “We have a very good group of professional men and women at Tisbury Police Service so I am really looking forward to this role. “
Brigham said he and Habekost had the support of the department, “which is important.”
He thanked his wife and daughter for accepting the demands of police work.
Grande told the board that he had met with the union and Habekost to discuss the lieutenant position, and that he had not only found support, but also the belief that the position was “the key to moving forward. ‘before’.
Even though the union supports the position, Grande said some negotiation will be necessary.
“This position is no longer included in the approved management and professional scale and the Tisbury Police Department staffing plan,” said Grande. “So after this meeting we will have to start impact negotiations with the police union. ”
Brigham becomes the third lieutenant in the history of the department. Ted Saulnier was the first to hold this post, just after the turn of the millennium, when he served under Chief John McCarthy and eventually succeeded him. In 2013, Eerik Meisner became the next lieutenant. For reasons that remain unclear, Meisner was demoted to sergeant and then fired by former Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio. Following a federal lawsuit, Meisner went on to settle with the city for $ 400,000.