By Beth David, Editor
For the second time in nine months, Fairhaven Animal Control Officer (ACO) Kelly Massey suffered a serious dog bite.
The first time was in July of 2016, when Ms. Massey’s leg was mauled by a dog after she put her foot on Duke, a bassett/pitbull mix, to push him away from another dog. Duke turned on Ms. Massey and bit her leg, knocking her down. A shelter volunteer was able to get the dog off her and into a kennel.
Ms. Massey was out of work for weeks after that incident. That dog was at the shelter on a 10-day quarantine after it had bitten another dog.
Because Duke was in the shelter for attacking another dog, Ms. Massey said that she felt Duke could hurt the other dog, although there was a fence between them. Even though the dogs were “cage fighting,” Ms. Massey said he still could have done a lot of damage to the smaller dog.
“I stuck my foot out so neither one of them would get hurt,” said Ms. Massey in a previous interview. “Did I do the right thing? I don’t know. Would I do it again so no one would get hurt? Probably.”
Duke was returned to West Virginia after he was released from the Fairhaven Animal Shelter.
In the latest incident, Ms. Massey took a German Shepherd to the Mattapoisett Animal Hospital to get shots, according to Mattapoisett Police Chief Mary Lyons. She said it was not clear if the dog was up to date on its shots.
“While they were preparing the dog for the shots, they removed the muzzle and the dog snapped at Kelly and bit her hand,” said Chief Lyons. “It was a pretty serious bite.”
Ms. Massey was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital for treatment. The incident happened on Monday 4/10, around 9 a.m.
Fairhaven Town Administrator Mark Rees confirmed the basics of the incident, but would not go into detail. He said he had received a report from Ms. Massey, but had not had a chance to read it and discuss it with her. He was unsure when she would return to work.
Mr. Rees would not comment on the details of the incident.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” said Mr. Rees.
“I’m always concerned when employees get hurt,” he said, adding that his response is always to “look into the situation very closely to see what happened to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.”
Mr. Rees said he does not know why Ms. Massey took the dog to Mattapoisett instead of using a veterinary hospital closer to the shelter. He did say that he believed Fairhaven had a “longstanding relationship” with the Mattapoisett Animal Hospital.
The Fairhaven Animal Control Department currently falls under the jurisdiction of the Town Administrator. In next year’s budget, the ACO position will move to the jurisdiction of the police department, if approved by Town Meeting in May. Supervision of the ACO will be under the police department. The ACO will still have responsibility for running the animal shelter.
Click here to download the entire 4/13/17 issue: 04-13-17 FlashlightEggHunt