New Bedford, Fairhaven and Wareham ACOs on Salisbury Dog Shooting
One of the most misfortunate stories to surface comes with the deaths of two animals in the Massachusetts town of Salisbury: one is a duck and the other is a blue-eyed dog.
The duck, on its property, was killed by an unrestrained dog, and then the dog was allegedly shot and killed by the duck's owner after repeated warnings he gave to the dog's owner.
It's causing a lot of controversy in Salisbury, but thankfully is not a situation that has arisen on the SouthCoast, at least according to a few local animal control officers.
Fairhaven Animal Control Officer: "Way Over the Top"
"Oh, my God, that's way over the top," said Terry Cripps, Fairhaven Animal Control Officer. "In a situation as awful as that, there are no winners."
Cripps said he hasn't come across such a situation.
"We haven't had anything like that happen here in Fairhaven that I know of," he said. "If I remember correctly, there was a really sad case a few years ago where a Lakeville man was cleared of malicious killing after shooting his neighbor's golden-haired retriever. But,what's legal and what's morally right are two different things."
Wareham Department of Natural Resources: "It Hasn't Happened Here"
Michael McGuire at the Wareham Department of Natural Resources said the law that permitted the duck owner to shoot the dog has been around for a long time, but he too has not seen anyone do something similar.
"It hasn't happened around here," he said.
Like Cripps, McGuire has had occurrences of dogs attacking chickens.
"Yes, dogs have killed chickens here, but it never came to a point of putting the dog down because of it," he said.
Has this happened in New Bedford?
"No, not since I've been here," said New Bedford Animal Control Officer Manny Maciel. "We have a restraint law here that makes it a violation to let a dog off the leash, and the owner must maintain control over their dog at all times. All it takes is a squirrel running and your dog bolts, (and) you're automatically at fault because of the leash law."
What happens if someone doesn't follow the leash law?
"We fine the violators and we'll take them to court if they don't pay the citation," Maciel said. "What happens to people who haven't paid their fine is a warrant for their arrest is made out, and if you're ever pulled over, the police will take you to jail."
Maciel said that the leash law has prevented such tragedies from occurring.
"I take my job seriously, and always apply the law," said Maciel. "If I didn't, then traumatic instances like what happened with the dog getting shot would happen more often. It was the dog's owner's responsibility to keep control over it at all times. If the owner only had done that, both animals would be alive today."