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.