Husky owner told to restrain, license his dogs

Nov 14, 2023

The Wareham Select Board informed dog owner Devin Stanley of his responsibilities under the law at a Tuesday, Nov. 14 nuisance dog hearing. 

Stanley owns three huskies, one a two-and-a-half year old mother, the others her one-year-old daughters. 

Wareham Animal Control Officer Devin Cloutier, made a request to the Select Board that the huskies be considered nuisance dogs. 

Cloutier has responded to numerous loose dog complaints for Stanley's animals, and has delivered him written warnings and citations for not having his dogs licensed, said Director of Natural Resources Garry Buckminster. 

Buckminster added on one occasion, one of the dogs got loose and killed a duck on a neighbor's property. 

Stanley said it was the first time he had owned huskies, and he had been unaware of the licensing requirements for dogs. The evening's proceedings were a "reality check," he added. 

"I've just been trying to get a grip on the situation," Stanley said. 

Members of the Select Board sympathized with Stanley on the difficulty of keeping huskies restrained. 

"They have a tendency to look at you, smile, and go that way," said Select Board Member Alan Slavin, describing the breed's intelligence and ability to escape. 

Other members of the Select Board focused on the extent of the issues that needed resolution, and pressed upon Stanley the importance of taking care of them. 

Select Board Member Ronald Besse gave Stanley credit for admitting his errors, but said following the animal control officer's recommendations before things got to this point would have been better. 

The Select Board declared the dogs to be nuisance animals, and voted to approve Cloutier's recommendations on how to remedy the situation. The recommendations required the dogs be humanely restrained, they be confined to the premises of their owner, they be properly identified to the town's licensing authority and they be leashed by a three foot chain or tether when they left on walks. 

The Select Board also added several of its own recommendations, including to have the dogs and their owner go through obedience training — with Stanley learning how to tell the dogs not to bark, and the dogs learning how to listen — and to have the dogs receive all their vaccinations. 

Stanley accepted Cloutier's requirements and the Board's, saying they were good recommendations for the situation. He questioned one requirement from Select Board Chair Judith Whiteside; Whiteside said she wanted only one dog to be walked at a time, and Stanley said the huskies were pack animals and the problems did not come when they were out on walks. 

Whiteside amended her requirement to only last one month, with its removal contingent on Stanley's fulfillment of the rest of the Board's requirements.