HALIFAX — The Halifax Board of Selectmen met Tuesday, June 11, and held a highly unusual dog hearing, participated in a promotion ceremony for the Halifax Fire Department, and heard a proposal from a young man working to earn his Eagle Scout badge. The meeting was long, and the board was running behind schedule throughout the night, as new member Gordon Andrews learned the ropes at this, his second meeting, and Chairman Troy Garron, who is generally soft-spoken, began to assert himself as the board’s leader.
Dog will be euthanized if she returns to Halifax
Selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday night to order Gia, a German Shepherd, euthanized should she ever return to within the borders of Halifax. Gia’s owner, Richard LeBlanc, is staying with his parents at the Twin Lakes Drive condominium complex.
The board heard from a number of witnesses including Animal Control Officer Noreen Callahan and Animal Inspector Brian King, before hearing an emotional, dramatic, long and uncomfortable plea from LeBlanc, who begged the board not to order his dog euthanized should it return to town. LeBlanc told the board the dog is now with its original breeder in New Hampshire.
LeBlanc cited many personal problems including a sick parent and child as well as a divorce as explanations for the, at least three, dog bite incidents with his Gia. A Twin Lakes Drive neighbor says there are other, unreported incidents, as well.
Selectman Chairman Troy Garron, who let LeBlanc continue on despite warnings to stick to the point, appeared annoyed with him as did the rest of the board. LeBlanc’s attempts to convince the board not to order his dog euthanized should it return to Halifax did not apparently win him sympathy from the board.
The most recent incident with Gia occurred May 18, when Halifax Police and Fire responded to 360 Twin Lakes Drive for a report of a dog bite. The alleged victims were Beth Jenness and her dog, Clarence, a 7-year-old Austrian Kelpie.
“Jenness had a cut on her top lip, and her dog, Clarence, had visible marks on its right thigh,” according to a police report by Officer Michael Boncariewski.
A previous alleged attack by LeBlanc’s dog occurred Dec. 25, 2018. Barbara Sheehan, of Twin Lakes Drive, described walking her dog Bella on a cold and windy Christmas Day.
LeBlanc’s German Shepherd came from her left, she says, and attacked her and her dog while she was screaming for help.
Sheehan alleges that LeBlanc grabbed her arm, begging her not to report the dog, which has been banned from Twin Lakes.
She says she spent about $500 in veterinarian bills, for which LeBlanc reimbursed her.
“I was a little disappointed in how the Selectmen ran the hearing,” Sheehan said. LeBlanc spoke at length, she added, while she did not have much time to address the board.
“I am ultimately satisfied with the result,” she said.
LeBlanc, who was in tears on the way out of the hearing, vowed to appeal the decision to the courts, which is his right.
Halifax Fire Chief Jason Viveiros was proud to announce the appointments, promotions and one 40-years-of-service award and pin to members of his department in front of Selectmen and family, friends and former firefighters. The Great Hall of Town Hall was filled as Viveiros spoke and Town Clerk Barbara Gaynor swore the first-responders into their new positions.
Thanking the audience, Viverios said, “Being a firefighter requires hard work, dedication and countless hours spent away from your family, training and responding to incidents. Our work requires us to leave at a moment’s notice and almost always at the most inopportune times. No firefighter would be successful in this career without the support and encouragement of their family and friends.”
He began by announcing the newest group of call firefighters to fill the ranks of the department, Jeff Arcieri, Andrew Jerome and Joseph Varraso, who were present for the ceremony and sworn-in by Gaynor, and Anthony Hardy and Quinland Murdock who were not present.
Of the three female members of the fire department, two were promoted from call firefighter to the rank of full-time firefighter, Bridget Ricciarelli and Abby Dubrawski.
“Both of these firefighters have been tremendous assets to our organization, they have earned their spot. They have worked extremely hard over the past several years completing their paramedic program while also filling shifts and always being there when we need them,” said Viveiros.
Peter Hogan, who has served the department since he was a cadet in High School, was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.
“Becoming a Lieutenant is the biggest transition any firefighter will experience in their career. You are tasked with the safety of the residents in our community, but equally important, you now become responsible for the safety of the firefighters assigned to you,” said Viveiros. “While he has only been in the position a short time, Lieutenant Hogan has clearly demonstrated his ability to lead and set an excellent example for others to follow.”
Finally, Captain Donald Crowell, who is retiring, received his 40-years-of-service award and pin from the Massachusetts Fire Service Commission.
“While I can’t imagine the changes he has seen in our department over the years, I can say for certain that he was a big part of making it the great organization it is today,” said Viveiros.
“You sure that’s me?” joked Crowell to laughter from the crowd.
The Fire Department enjoyed cake as the Selectmen returned to their regularly scheduled meeting.
Eagle Scout project
Jacob Oliveira is pursuing his Eagle Scout badge and asked Selectmen for permission to put a hand-built wooden donation chest for care packages for soldiers in Town Hall. He plans to build the chest with the help of his fellow Boy Scouts and scout masters.
The chest will have three separate compartments, one for nonperishable items, one for “cultural” items like books and CDs, and one for toiletries. Oliveira and the Boy Scouts will monitor the chest for donations and will send the contents as care packages to soldiers deployed abroad, he said to the board.
Selectman Gordon Andrews asked if Oliveira would be using social media to raise awareness of his project, and he responded that he is planning to.
The major question that the board had concerned the location of the chest, with Garron questioning having enough space and appropriate visibility, but Oliveira noted the chest was on wheels and could be moved.
It is tentatively going to be placed across from the Veterans’ Agent’s office in Town Hall. The board thanked Oliveira and Selectman Tom Millias complemented him on his presentation.
• The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Halifax Board of Selectmen will be Tuesday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room of Town Hall.