The Doom Is Lifted

Zion and Sensi, the two young Akitas who have killed many chickens and several geese in a total of five escapades, are no longer on death row. For background on the story, see my earlier blogs “Doomsdog” and “Doomsdog Update.”

An agreement was reached at the West Tisbury selectmen’s meeting this afternoon to turn them over to the Lexus Project, a legal defense group formed to save greyhounds who had been condemned to die for being “vicious.” Recently it expanded its mission to include threatened dogs of all breeds.

After evaluating the two dogs, Lexus will find them new homes. According to the agreement, Sensi and Zion cannot be rehomed with the current owners, Taggart Young and Anna Bolotovsky, or their family members, and they cannot be brought back to Martha’s Vineyard.

The agreement also stipulates that both dogs must be neutered before being turned over to Lexus. The transfer is expected to take place by the end of next week. At the request of the current owners’ attorney, who joined the meeting by telephone, the selectmen voted unanimously not to require the current owners to pay the town’s legal fees in the case. They are still responsible for making restitution to the livestock owner, covering Zion’s kennel fees, and paying for the neutering of both dogs.

What a relief. Quite a few people have played key roles in bringing this agreement about, but I especially applaud Young and Bolotovsky for agreeing to give the dogs a chance by giving them up. It must have been a heartwrenching decision, but they’ve done the right thing.

Update, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 12 noon

Questions have been raised about the arrangement made by the dogs’ current owners and their lawyer. The Lexus Project is a worthy organization dedicated to the legal defense of dogs who are sentenced to death as “vicious.” It isn’t a rescue group. The decision to turn the dogs over to Lexus was made by Young and Bolotovsky, and as I understand it, the arrangements were made by their lawyer.

Young, Bolotovsky, and their lawyer were aware of Big East Akita Rescue (BEAR), an Akita rescue group based in New Jersey that covers the Northeast. BEAR, like any good rescue group, knows the breed it’s dealing with and takes great care to rehome rescued dogs with suitable owners. Why did the dogs’ current owners choose to surrender the dogs not to BEAR but to Lexus? Good question.

In the agreement settled on yesterday — but not yet signed — West Tisbury stipulated that the dogs not be rehomed with Bolotovsky, Young, or any member of their families, and also that the dogs not return to Martha’s Vineyard. Will these conditions apply to any arrangement that Lexus makes with a rescue group? Another good question.

Two selectmen and the town’s executive secretary have been alerted that there may be a problem here. I hope there isn’t, but given the track record of the current owners, I also hope that the town takes a closer look at the agreement before anyone signs it.

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About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has two blogs going on WordPress. "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories" is about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard. "Write Through It" is about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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9 Responses to The Doom Is Lifted

  1. Diane says:

    If Lexus is not a rescue – then where will the dogs go? How will Lexus decide whom to adopt to? Wouldn’t it be more logical for the dogs to be evaluated by Akita Rescue and rehomed by same?
    I am thankful that they are alive though, just worried for their future!

    Like

    • Me too! I exchanged e-mails with Robin of the Lexus Project on Wednesday night. She was very clear that Lexus isn’t a rescue. she wrote, in part: “Dogs must have a reputable group to step up or we can’t get involved. We would have no place for the dog to go.” A couple of us have provided Lexus with contact info for Big East Akita Rescue (which fits the requirement for a “reputable group”), and I’ve got my fingers crossed that they will work together on this.

      Like

      • Diane says:

        Susan contact BEAR – they do not know this!!! I will call them too but I need someone from LEXUS for them to call –

        Like

  2. susan robinson says:

    Fabulous. Great these two dogs got so much support. A sane solution. And I like your words about the people who had he dogs being willing to give up the dogs.

    Like

  3. jo says:

    this is so reasonable and just that it is hard to believe. i wish those dogs every good thing, and i hope their former owners have actually learned something from this sad chapter.

    Like

  4. Dr Vadim Chelom says:

    Great news. I personally feel that hunting small animals is instinctive for a dog and can not be viewed as a sign of aggression.

    Like

    • I agree — and Akitas, like other northern breed dogs, tend to have high prey drives. I’ve got an Alaskan malamute, so i have some experience with this. 🙂 They just shouldn’t be running loose where there’s livestock anywhere in the vicinity.

      Like

  5. Jackie Mendez-Diez says:

    Oh, yay. I mean, really, YAY!. What a happy ending. Thank you, Susanna, for breaking the story to the public. You rock.

    Like

  6. Anda Divine says:

    What a good outcome! I admire your willingness to help publicize and document this story.

    Like

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