A haunting hound


Julia Scott, Co-Editor

“Originally, when I saw it, I didn’t get a good look at it — it was in my front lawn when I saw it; I live on Lower Newton — and I thought it was a wolf so I just started recording it because it was just this big white husky-looking dog and I was kind of confused by it,” recent BFA graduate Mason Mashtare said.

Mashtare lives on Lower Newton Road and has seen the Saint Albans “Ghost Dog” in his neighborhood “too many times to count”. Mashtare is a Ghost Dog enthusiast, one of several Saint Albans residents who seek out the Ghost Dog at night to watch and record.

The Ghost Dog, described by the police as a “large white malamute dog” has been wandering Saint Albans since January of 2018. The dog is most often seen on Lower Newton Road, but has been reported on Federal Street and Nason Street as well.

“I don’t think it’s actually supernatural, but it is a very interesting dog. It’s very elusive and many police officers have tried catching the dog. There’s the whole mystery that nobody knows where the dog came from. I even have a video where I shine a flashlight on the dog and then take the flashlight away for just a moment and move it back and the dog’s gone, so its very elusive. It definitely doesn’t want to be seen by people,” Mashtare said.

However, not all believe the Ghost Dog to be benign. Controversy arose when Facebook user “Jasmine Marie” claimed the Ghost Dog killed her nine week old puppy while it was in her yard. Back and forth debate began between Marie and her followers and those who didn’t believe the Ghost Dog would attack a pet.

Marie claimed to have security camera footage showing the death of her puppy, but “was told [she] can’t post it”. While Marie reportedly called animal control, when the police reached out to her, she never replied with further information.

“We don’t believe the dog is a danger to citizens… The dog is still an animal so it has its own instincts so we certainly can’t say if other pets are safe around it,” Sergeant Jason Lawton said.

Lawton runs the Police Facebook page, in addition to working the evening shift when the dog is active.

Most reports maintain that the dog is harmless and likely more scared of people than they are of it.

“Anytime I’ve come across it, it has just run in the opposite direction. It doesn’t want anything to do with humans,” Mashtare said.

The Ghost Dog is still largely shrouded in mystery. Because it avoids people and eludes capture, little information other than appearance and frequent locations is available. Even the dog’s gender is unknown.

Both civilian and police led searches for the dog’s owner — if it has one — have been fruitless.

“One person came forward and said they thought it was their dog, but a couple days later they said they didn’t think it was their dog anymore. The dog appears to be well fed and taken care of, it doesn’t appear to be living out in the woods unless its taking very good care of itself,” Lawton said.

Also mysterious are the dog’s habits: as mentioned, it is almost exclusively seen after dark and stays within the same few neighborhoods.

“It’s very much on its own schedule every night. Like, if you drive around the Sticks & Stuff area at 9:30 and you’ll see it most nights. It’s weird how much of a schedule its on,” Mashtare said.

The mystery of the Ghost Dog has electrified the town. Along with rumors of bloodshed, the comment section of the Ghost Dog post on the SAPD Facebook page also includes debate over the dog’s exact breed and the possibility that it is a death omen.

“Its given our citizens something to talk about aside from the bad stuff that happens, kind of a relief from all of that,” Lawton said.

The Police Department assure that the dog is in no way supernatural and is indeed very real. However, because it does not appear to pose a material threat to the town and no one has claimed the dog, its capture is not a priority.

“If we can catch the dog we will, it’s not something we going or can spend a lot of time on, trying to catch the dog because it doesn’t necessarily stick around very long,” Lawton said.