If you read one Letter to the Editor this week…

…it should be this one:

I’m the owner of the terribly vicious pit bull in Barre, “Selectmen put conditions on ‘pit-bull-like’ dog” (Telegram & Gazette, June 29). Yes, the dog killed a chicken when his chain broke and he roamed 100 yards down the street to a neighbor’s house.

I’m sorry this happened, but I cannot undo it. I’ll be paying the owner for the replacement of the animal.

The article made me sound like a terrible, irresponsible person who has no regard for my pets or other people and their pets. I’ve worked full time at the same job for 26 years. I’ve raised my son since his father passed 15 years ago. I attend church weekly. I’m a member of the Barre Recreation Commission. I care for my sister’s and neighbor’s pets when they go on vacation. I’m straightforward and honest.

My pit bull is one of the most loving pets I’ve ever owned. He lives in the same house as one other dog and three cats. One cat was nuzzling up to the dog as he was being led away by the dog officer. He is, however, an animal with animal instincts. As with any animal, their instincts will prevail at times. Cats kill mice, snakes and birds. Does that make them vicious?

I could go on to point my finger at those with such strong opinions against me and my dog. I just choose not to relate to them if I don’t have to. I do accept responsibility for my actions.

JANICE [redacting the last name for blog purposes]


And if you read one comment on that website this week, make it this one:


After reading your comments, I rattled off a diatribe that would have been taken just the way I meant it. Out here, in the middle of nowhere and in front of what could be millions of strangers. But the truth is, we’re neighbors and we should behave as such. We should keep high fences but never be afraid to poke our heads over and speak our minds, even if our voice shakes a little. But the move is yours to make. I’m not going to knock on your door and demand an apology.

After the melee, I was pretty upset about Dexter, Dot and Cutlet. Dexter laid the blue and green eggs and Dot would actually sit down next to me while I was working on one piece of crap truck or the other. And as for Cutlet, she had no significant aspirations and didn’t really care if she dropped an egg or not. In any case, the chickens had names, as does Elka. Our animals have names.

Going back and forth is pointless. You will always defend Elka and I’ll always wish I was there to put three 9mm slugs in her (his?) chest. It’s my legal right to do so and I’m a pretty tight shot. But really, all of that is old and tired, let’s move on.

In any case, I truly do have compassion for Elka and forgiveness for you. Living with the restrictions set in place by the town is not a dog’s life. Apologizing for something you still can’t seem to believe, for whatever reason, is pretty tough too. But Janice, the orders for the dog have been passed down and you need to accept the truth: The dog is dangerous outside of your house. It got out. It tasted blood and feathers and knows where to get more. There were three chickens. But above all that, honest, direct and face to face apologies are still honest apologies, even if they may feel like they’re a little too late. Our mailboxes are less than a foot away from each other and we both know that I’ve seen you get your mail. If you see us outside or if you see the lights on in the barn, stop by, we don’t bite.


Mike sounds like the kind of neighbor most people would be happy to live near.  I am in awe of the civility of his response and his willingness to forgive.

According to the original article, “Selectmen voted to give the owners until July 16 to satisfy the dog officer’s requirements for return of the dog. They expect a report by their next meeting, July 19.”  Let’s hope that things work out for the best for everyone involved. 

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