The Waitsfield Select Board has ordered AJ Wimble and Ashley Metevier to construct a fence large and sturdy enough to keep their 100-pound dog Otis on their North Road property and to board him at a friend’s house until the fence is constructed.
But if at any time in the future Otis is found running at large again, he will be considered forfeited to the town and will be rehomed.
The board held a hearing on the Otis issue on November 14 and issued its decision on November 18. At the November 14 hearing, the board received written complaints from town animal control officer Fred Messer as well as testimony from a neighbor and another town resident impacted by Otis’ wanderings. Messer is also a member of the select board and had recused himself from the board to fulfill his role as animal control officer.
Per that testimony Otis is frequently running at large, without dog tags and making a nuisance of himself by entering people’s homes, scratching cars and doors, running on public and private roads and more. Messer said he’d received over 29 complaints about Otis since September 2021.
At that hearing Wimble explained that the electric fence which had been keeping Otis around the house had shorted out and that the e-collar that works with the fence needed to be charged every eight hours. He also said that his kids repeatedly let Otis out without the collar.
The board’s decision calls for Otis to stay at the home of Randy Dow Jr., a friend of Wimble’s, until a high wooden fence can be built at his North Road home. Additionally, Wimble and Metevier must apply for a zoning permit to build the fence and pay any associated fees. They must also pay $721.55 in penalty and board fees to release Otis from his current boarding location. Failure to pay those fees by November 25 will result in forfeiture of Otis to the town in order to be rehomed.
The fees include $186 in mileage to get Otis to a boarding facility, $495.75 for boarding Otis since November 2, $25 fee for first offense, no collar, $25 fee for first offense running at large, and $25 fee for first offense, nuisance dog.
Once the fence is built Otis can return home after a select board member or another town official has visited the site and confirmed that that fence is complete and adequate.
The town’s decision ends with a standing offer to rehome Otis should Wimble and Metevier desire.
“As has been offered on many occasions, if at any time Mr. Wimble or Ms. Metevier find that the maintenance and care of Otis is more than they care to provide for, they may deliver the attached, signed, Bill of Sale to the Waitsfield Town Office drop box without prejudice and all penalties due and potential enforcement violations will be waived and/or dropped and the Waitsfield Animal Control Officer, with the assistance of humane animal organizations, will rehome Otis,” the board wrote in concluding its decision.