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Dogs have residents barking

Published May 31. 2012 05:01PM

Dogs are disrupting one Mahoning Township development and resident Kim Snyder - bearing a petition from neighbors in Mahoning Manor Estates - attended the supervisors' meeting this week to request they do something about the situation.

"My neighbor has 10 dogs in their house and they do not clean up their yard after them. The smell is so bad that I cannot let my son outside or play with him outside and it's been awful the past few days with how murky the weather has been," Snyder told supervisors.

She brought a petition signed by several neighbors demanding the supervisors do something about the situation.

"No one will help us, not the state or the county K-9," she said.

Supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt mentioned at the last meeting that he called the state dog warden, George Nixon, who is based in Stroudsburg, and complained that the resident has 10 unlicensed dogs on their property.

"He told me it was not worth his time to come to Lehighton to investigate 10 dogs," said Steigerwalt.

Snyder said she tried Nixon as well as the Carbon County K-9 officer only to be told that county official was not certified to enforce the dog laws. Steigerwalt, who was critical of the officer at the previous meeting, said she could not be trained as there was no course available that was funded for her to take.

"We have a county officer with no certification," he said, adding that he read in a recent edition of the TIMES NEWS that the officer and her deputy both resigned, effective the beginning of June.

"Who can enforce this law? Is there a dog ordinance or some other way to deal with this?" Snyder asked the supervisors. "They don't even clean up their property."

Chairperson John Wieczorek said he talked with the police about it and an officer had visited the house and left a note for the resident to see him.

"My understanding is the woman claims these are show dogs," he said.

Steigerwalt said he understood Officer Jeff Frace to say the lady told him they were show dogs registered in another county.

"My understanding is if they were in Carbon County on January 1st they are to be registered here regardless if they have a license elsewhere," Steigerwalt said. He added that the dogs may have an identification number tattooed on them, but pointed out they still must be registered with Carbon County even though they don't have to pay for the license.

Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt asked if there might be some nuisance ordinance that could be used to deal with situation.

According to supervisor Frank Ruch, the nuisance ordinance provides for allowing a violation to be charged if people do not clean up after themselves or their pets such that it creates an annoyance for other people. He said the ordinance allows for separate violations each carrying up to a $1,000 fine that can be levied each day the person is in violation.

"We will go to the police with what Frank just read," Wieczorek said, "and see if we can do something about the situation. We will let you know what happens good or bad and what our or your next steps will be."

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