By Kara Herlihy
At their September 14 meeting, town officials in Fayston authorized a reimbursement payment of $75 to Matt Howes for chickens he claimed were killed by neighbor's dog.
Vermont state statute requires that the town reimburse Howes for the chickens, as the neighbor refused to do so.
Howes and his son first appeared before the select board on July 28 to report the incident and recount the events he said took place in March of this year. Howes said the pen was opened in the morning to allow the chickens to free range, and all but one was discovered two hours later.
Howes said he believed the birds were killed by a dog based upon the heavy footprints he found around the site that were unlike the tracks a lighter animal would have left.
In addition, Howes said one of the chickens got on top of the coop in an effort to escape and, in all likelihood, he said, a dog could not reach the stranded chicken. That chicken survived.
The dog accused of killing the chickens is owned by neighboring landowner, Walter Brink.
Brink attended the August 24 meeting of the Fayston Select Board where he maintained that his dog was not responsible for the dead birds and, as a result, refused to pay for the lost livestock.
"I'm not going to pay for the chickens because my dog didn't kill them," Brink said.
At their September 14 meeting, select board member Jared Cadwell asked if Town Administrator Patti Lewis had found a single instance of the town reimbursing residents for killed livestock.
Lewis said there was an incident with some sheep in the late 1800s, but other than that no recordings of issuing payment.
NOTICE OF DAMAGE
Vermont state statute 3742 "Notice of damage; appraisal" reads:
"A person who suffers loss by the worrying, maiming or killing of his sheep, lambs, fowls or other domestic animals, by dogs, within twenty-four hours after he learns of such damage, shall give notice thereof to one or more of the selectmen of the town wherein the damage was done, who shall proceed to the premises where the damage was done, and determine whether the same was inflicted by dogs, and, if so, appraise the amount thereof and return a certificate of such amount to the selectmen of such town; but if, in the opinion of the selectman, the amount of such damage exceeds $20.00, he shall appoint two disinterested persons, who, with the selectman, shall appraise the amount of such damage and return a certificate of the same to the selectmen of such town forthwith. Such appraisal shall be for the full value of all animals killed, not less than one-half value of all animals maimed and not less than fifty cents per head for any injury to the remainder of the flock over three months of age, caused by worrying."