Remember the two young Akitas who got into such trouble in West Tisbury that, in great exasperation with the irresponsibility of their owners, the selectmen sentenced them to die?
A compromise was reached: The death sentence would be lifted if the irresponsible owners agreed to let the dogs be rehomed. The agreement further stipulated that the dogs could not be rehomed with either of the current owners, Taggart Young and Anna Bolotovsky, or their families and that the dogs could not return to Martha’s Vineyard. On Friday, March 2, the dogs, Zion and Sensi, were turned over to the Lexus Project.
Guess what? According to a source I consider reliable, the two dogs are back with the original owners and living with Anna’s family in Newton.
Correction: I misunderstood my source on this incident. It took place before the dogs were turned over to the Lexus Project. As far as I know, neither dog has come back to the island since then. More, on at least one occasion Tag has brought Sensi to work with him. On that particular occasion, Sensi disappeared from the job site. After a frantic search she was found — and Tag’s response was, it seems, to punish her for running off.
Any half-savvy dog owner knows that this doesn’t teach the dog not to run off. It teaches the dog not to come back.
On March 11 I posted “Doomsdog Coda,” reporting that the dogs had been turned over to Lexus, expressing my reservations about the arrangement, and hoping for the best. I mentioned that the day before I had e-mailed Robin Mittasch, co-principal of the Lexus Project, to ask if she had any update about the two dogs. She responded the same day: “They are decompressing and doing well in a foster home. That’s all the news we have.”
Were they already back in Tag and Anna’s hands by then? I don’t know.
The whole incident makes me a little sick. Sensi and Zion are back in the same incapable hands.
If I knew for an absolute fact that Sensi or Zion was on the island, would I call the police, the animal control officer, or the board of selectmen? Not without a guarantee that the dog(s) (a) wouldn’t be killed, and (b) would be turned over to BEAR or an equally competent rescue organization.
What’s most sickening, though, is that this was entirely, 100% preventable. A bona fide Akita rescue group, Big East Akita Rescue (BEAR), was ready and able to take charge of Sensi and Zion, foster them, evaluate them, and find them suitable new homes. Instead, the town let Young and Bolotovsky and their lawyer choose the Lexus Project as an intermediary — even though Lexus is a legal defense group, not a rescue, and it seemed reluctant to establish contact with BEAR. Two of us communicated all this information to two of the three selectmen and to the town administrator, who was charged with doing the research and making the arrangements.
The upshot is that the town got suckered: suckered by Young and Bolotovsky, suckered by their lawyer (one Jonathan Stone Rankin of Framingham, who specializes in “animal law”), suckered by the Lexus Project. At the feel-good meeting where the “compromise” was agreed on, the town even excused Young and Bolotovsky from paying the town’s legal fees in the case.
My biggest hope is that the next dog that gets in trouble in West Tisbury won’t have to pay for the town’s gullibility. And if you’re moved to donate money to an animal-welfare group, there are plenty of alternatives out there more worthy than the Lexus Project.