To the editor:
Nahant is at it again. Shoot first and don’t even bother asking questions.
Town Administrator Tony Barletta finds it easier to rely mostly on Facebook for information rather than have law enforcement perform an actual investigation. According to him (well, actually the extremists on the Nahant Coyote Victims Page), there’s an aggressive coyote and a dangerous dog in town. Time to kill.
The coyote in question attacked a tiny dog who was trailing behind his human guardian at night, near a woodsy spot, in an area well known for coyote activity by virtue of its anthropogenic attractants that offending homeowners, and the town, refuse to address. And, many are still resistant to understanding which situations to avoid or to modifying their own behavior as a way to protect their animal companions.
When the dog yelped, the human turned around and shouted at the coyote, who dropped the dog. So, one shout, and the coyote responded. But, because the coyote approached the human, who was holding the dog, Barletta was told by Dave Wattles of Mass Wildlife that the coyote is aggressive. There was no other investigation by Mass Wildlife or Barletta, who intimated that the on-retainer sharpshooters will be called in.
Dead adult coyotes mean soon-to-be dead pups, at this time of year. This was all decided on the word of a distraught and angry guardian of an unfortunately now-euthanized dog, who was too little to withstand the bite.
At Wednesday’s Select Board meeting, the chair chastised resident coyote-advocates who questioned the lack of investigation and the town’s knee-jerk response.
Selectman Mark Cullinan told one of the always-respectful advocates that he would no longer listen to her comments nor answer her questions, and instead would simply shut off her microphone. Open Meeting Law or not, this sounds a bit too much like suppression of free speech by virtue of its content.
The other miscarriage of justice concerns a golden retriever who escaped his home. When a neighbor grabbed him while he was in the vulnerable position of defecating, the dog bit her.
After a vet denied euthanization, which the dog’s human requested, the owner shipped the dog out of state, back to the breeder. The woman insisted that the dog be returned to Nahant, deemed dangerous, and put to death.
Recently, I showed a coyote presentation to children in Nahant’s elementary school. When I started a video I’d taken of a coyote warily giving me a wide berth, just because I was walking towards her and despite the small dog I had in tow (a typical attractant), a third grader shouted, “Kill him!”
Barletta and his henchmen on Nahant’s Select Board must be proud.