Friday, June 5, 2009

Reprieve For Kane the Dog -- Bigger Ramifications

I represented the owner of the dog that was ordered to be euthanized by the BOS for his attack on a horse. There are only TWO bases for a reversal of the BOS order: 1) that the order was an improper order; and 2) that the order was issued in bad faith.

My argument was the following:

1. That there was no fair hearing because the BOS has no rules for hearings and the taking and presenting of evidence. The BOS letter confirming that fact was placed in evidence.
2. The hearing was done by ambush, as none of the evidence to be presented was given to the dog owner prior to the hearing, and the motion to euthanize was made and accepted prior to the hearing being closed, and before the owner was able to present further evidence.
3. The order was in bad faith as it ignored the reccommendation of the ACO, was baased on the presonal prejudices and irrelevant experiences of two Selectmen relating to a dog that was not the dog at issue.
4. The order violated the Mass General Laws regarding the killing of a dog that has worried or killed livestock or fowl. There are specific rules in place and steps and protections to be followed, which the BOS ignored.

Today, the order to euthanize the dog was reversed, although there was no indication which ground, or whether both grounds were the basis of the reversal of the BOS order.

At a minimum, it was my impression that the lack of rules for a hearing as well as the lack of disclosure to the owner of the evidence against the dog prior to hearing was a factor in the reversal. Nobody likes a process without rules and well defined protections for the people appearing before a Board--except our BOS.

Today it is the reversal of a dog order, tommorrow, it may be the reversal of a more significant order based on the lack of due process and the lack of any procedures. Isn't it just easier to put some rules in place and to foster fair hearings rather than hang on to some outdated concept of a benevolent dictatorship. Food for thought.


Anonymous said...

What is so hard about telling everyone the rules? Why can't the BOS just copy some of the versions on the internet for P Town or Nantucket? If they did that would you shut up already about the rules?

AMB said...

If they adopt a set of rational rules and stick with them, I think that would go a long way toward protecting the citizens of the Town from arbitrary and capricious action on the part of the BOS. The TM and I had a long conversation on at least one occassion where he said that creating written policies and procedures for the BOS would be a priority. Didn't happen even though we discussed it several times, and it was raised as a priority issue by me when we had the goals meeting early on in his tenure. Guess he doesn't think it is a real priority--not really important to have rules I guess. Unless you want your orders to stand up to scrutiny and legal analysis.

Anonymous said...

The BOS operates under the Chatham House Rule.

"When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed."

Anonymous said...

I agree, Mr. Bond. The issue at hand is about due process.

I don't know the facts in this case, and I certainly didn't get any from the discussion (or lack thereof) at the BoS meeting.

I find it ironic that Mimi is part of a committee that is running a fundraiser to rebuild or improve the conditions of the local animal shelter. A smart political move for her, but I fear that it will harm the effectiveness of this worthwhile cause.

It might be better if she dismissed herself from this project and let it be run by other people who are more credible in their concerns.

Anonymous said...

You find it hard to believe that MiMi is working to raise funds for the shelter? Well, don't you find it hard to believe that she has broken all kinds of ethic issues and still keeps on going?
She is a selectwoman who single handly requests donations to help subsidize the town departments. she gets away with it all the time. there are laws about that because she can vote to help people that want something from the BOS.She can show favoritism and so can't others on the board that belong to the same group she does.
Every time the departments gets help from a group they are being subsidized and throws your tax bases way off balance.

Anonymous said...


I don't recall your insisting on
procedural rules during your tenure
on the Board.

Why did you have to leave the BOS before making this an issue -
you certainly could have established
new procedures as Chairman.

Since leaving the Board you seem to have had a change of heart on
this & other issue. Glad that you
had the personal growth, but wish you would have used it as an opportunity to transform the Board ...

Anonymous said...

To Anon 9:52 on 6/15:

I didn't say I find it hard to believe that Mimi does comment was that I find it ironic.

I am past the point where I am suprised at anything the board does. In lieu of any code of ethics they could adhere to, they could at least be guided a moral compass. But that doesn't seem to exist, either.

This is the governing body in our town. We allowed the casino issue to guide us when making our selection at the voting booth. Mimi got in because she was pro-casino. I was at her victory party...the prevailing comment was "the casino won again"!

The last election shouldn't have had anything to do with the was and always has been a separate issue. If it was, we certainly wouldn't have voted in someone as inept as Mimi Duphily. Well we got what we asked for, and now we are paying the price. I hope we are learnig our lesson here.

Anon 10:33 am on 6/11