Dog vaccine

St. Albans changes course and won’t euthanize Moose dog

Moose, according to canine police, killed nearly 30 animals in St. Albans City, will not be euthanized. Courtesy of St. Albans Police Department

The city of St. Albans no longer plans to euthanize Moose, the dog that has killed 30 small animals this year and whose case had drawn attention.

Instead, City Council voted Tuesday to move Moose out of St. Albans, Ward 4 Alderman Mike McCarthy said. The 4-year-old dog now lives in Highgate with a woman who helps rescue dogs, McCarthy said. She has 30 days to find Moose a new home, which will likely either be out of state or with a relief organization in southern Vermont.

Courtney O’Brien, the paramedic, wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday that she assessed Moose after the May 9 decision to euthanize him. She said she determined the dog was safe to live with other people with the proper training and care.

“He has prey that is common to almost ALL breeds of dogs,” O’Brien said in a post that included videos showing Moose interacting with her and other dogs. “He was determined to be a perfectly good dog with people of all ages.”

McCarthy added that St. Albans planned to notify Highgate officials that Moose had been transferred there. The two communities share police services.

According to a police report and testimony from residents at last week’s meeting, Moose on April 6 killed an award-winning rabbit and injured two others at a Walnut Street home. Then, about a month later, the dog killed 26 chickens and three ducks on a nearby property.

Police say Moose has run amok on city roads several times over the past year. The dog was not registered with the city, police said, and its owner could not produce documentation proving Moose had been vaccinated against rabies.

Moose also caused a puncture wound to the rabbit’s owner’s hand, according to testimony at last week’s meeting.

McCarthy said councilors are grateful O’Brien reached out to the city about her willingness to take in Moose and are confident she has the resources to care for him.

O’Brien did not respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday night. She wrote a letter to counselors on Monday urging them to reverse their decision to euthanize Moose.

McCarthy said that before hearing from O’Brien, council members felt they had no choice but to depose Moose. Councilors expressed concern last week that if the dog remained in town it could put other pets, and potentially people, at risk.

“It was clear that the owner of the dog didn’t care or was incapable of caring,” McCarthy said Tuesday. “And there was just no other real recourse we had.”

McCarthy and other advisers received messages supporting and condemning their vote to euthanize Moose, he said. He also saw “very fervent” conversation about the decision on social media.

“The kind of messages I was getting about it were so extreme — on both sides of the issue,” McCarthy said. “We just want to make sure people in our community are safe. That their animals are safe.

Stay on top of all Vermont criminal justice news. Sign up here to receive a weekly email with all of VTDigger’s court and crime reports.

Did you know that VTDigger is a non-profit organization?

Our journalism is made possible by donations from our members. If you appreciate what we do, please contribute and help keep this vital resource accessible to everyone.