The Halifax Board of Selectmen met on Thursday March 16, 2017. Normally, the board meets on Tuesday nights, however the snowstorm that closed Halifax and Silver Lake schools, also closed the Halifax Town Hall. The meeting was postponed until Thursday, March 16.
Halifax selectmen spent much of their meeting on a dog bite hearing, which saw Tarawood Kennels, 7 Plymouth St., Halifax, face the board, calling to account for a a serious dog attack took place at the Tarawood Kennels on February 19.
A 14-month old German Sheppard attacked a woman causing serious injuries including a broken arm, a deep laceration to the arm with twenty puncture holes, and a leg injury.
According to the report, Kathleen and Tarawood Kennels owner Bobbi Choate were sitting outside and socializing with the 14-month old German Shepherd. The dog sniffed Kathleen’s arm and then suddenly attacked without any provocation.
Kathleen says, “The dog jumped on me and I pushed him away.” She added that the dog jumped on her again and then viciously attacked her. Since the attack, the dog was placed on a segregated 45-day quarantine where only Choate has had contact with the dog.
Choate told selectmen, “The dog wasn’t socialized with other dogs and not much with people either.” Choate also said she witnessed him show aggressive behavior with other dogs since being at Tarawood kennels.
Kathleen has dogs of her own and says she has been bit in the past, but she’s never been “viciously attacked” like this.” Selectmen Chairman Troy Garron suggested the German Sheppard may have smelled other dogs on Kathleen’s arm which might have caused an instinctive reaction if the dog hadn’t been socialized with other dogs.
The dog first arrived at Tarawood Kennels on January 30, 2017 when Justine and Patrick McCarthy returned him. They said they brought back the German Sheppard because he was too high-strung and could not afford the medical costs to neuter him. Complications can make the normally routine procedure cost as much as $1,200.
The McCarthys did however object to the claims Choate made about the dog not being socialized with other dogs or people.
Justine McCarthy said, “He never bit anyone (before). He was very hyper, but I wouldn’t describe him as aggressive.” She also told selectmen she has two young children as well as another dog, a small Shiatzu.
Patrick McCarthy also added that his father brought his dog over on multiple occasions. They even brought the German Sheppard camping with them.
The board and Choate remained skeptical though. Choate didn’t question that they brought the dog camping, but if it was ever around any other dogs while camping. Her experiences with the dog lead her to believe that the dog was not well socialized with other dogs. At one point, Choate, whose kennel specializes in German Shepherds even admitted she’s sometimes nervous around the dog.
As of right now, all three members of the Board of Selectmen voiced that they were leaning towards euthanizing the dog considering the serious injuries he inflicted and the unknown chances for improved behavior.
Considering the neutering will cost $1,200, the board believed it would be difficult for that expense to be borne by many but a committed owner. Selectmen Vice-chairman Tom Millias mentioned that due to the complications, there may be an issue of the dog over producing testosterone, which would lead to heightened aggression.
Selectmen clerk Kim Roy said, “I’m inclined to have the dog euthanized unless a good reason by Animal Control is given otherwise.”
Justine McCarthy voiced displeasure with these opinions because she claims she was told by the animal inspector the dog could be taken on by a canine officer. There was no record of this at the meeting, however Animal Control Officer Noreen Callahan was not able to attend the hearing because she had to leave due to a prior call.
The hearing with Callahan’s testimony will continue on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
Though the dog hearing took up the majority of the Board of Selectmen Meeting, the Board did address some other items. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to reappoint Amy Troupe to the town’s Beautification Committee.
According to the town website, “The Beautification Committee works to improve the landscape of the Town’s properties including the areas around public buildings, along the streets and traffic islands by planting flowering plants, bushes and other vegetation and helping to keep these areas free from litter.”
Selectmen also took time to speak about the upcoming Annual Town Meeting in May. Town Administrator Charlie Seelig said he thinks it may be a good idea to put volunteer boards up for vote at May’s meeting.
Seelig said, “We’d have descriptions of committees, we’d have the forms, we’d have the vacancies we have right now. Since these people are interested in coming to Town Meeting, maybe they’d be interested in joining a committee also.” Overall, the idea was well received by Selectmen.
Live Event Permit Granted at Jason Conroy’s fundraiser for Matthew James Adam Hope House for Substance Abuse
Selectmen approved a fundraiser at 21 Jordan Rd., Halifax, owned by Jason Conroy who’s trying to start the Matthew James Adam Hope House for Substance abuse, which he says pending zoning, will start up in Plympton.
Jason Conroy says, “I lost my sixth friend in six weeks to the opioid epidemic.” He wants to do something about the serious problem of addiction running rampant throughout not only the South Shore, but the whole country.
Conroy has reached out to several large automotive dealers to sponsor the fundraising event he’s holding on his property on Friday March 24, 2017 from 7-11pm.
As far as turnout, Conroy is hoping for 150 people and will have a police detail at the event to make sure everyone is having fun and staying safe.
The board wanted to make sure there won’t be a bonfire or fireworks, which Conroy assured neither will happen. The Board approved the event providing Conroy is compliant with all permits he needs. Kim Roy added she has experience working on the state’s Opioid Task Force and thinks this is a worthy cause.
Selectmen will next meet on Tuesday March 28.