Southwick neighborhood going to the dogs

SOUTHWICK – The Select Board voted to continue a dog hearing last night after listening to arguments from neighbors.
Animal Control Officer Tracy Root told the board members that on July 6 David Walker complained that his neighbor Laura Foster’s dog was barking constantly and jumped on his fence.
“I did go to the house and the dog was out front tied to a tree,” said Root.  “He could, if he wanted to, jump on the fence.”
Root said she asked Foster to move the puppy away from the fence and added that she does not feel the dog is a danger.
Southwick Police Lt. David Ricardi said police responded to several complaints from both neighbors, including dog and noise complaints, and thought the problems were resolved.
“I tried to mediate and thought it was successful until this dog complaint,” Ricardi said.
Foster said the puppy began barking after her other dog died and claimed she is with the dog all day and does not leave him outside when she is not there. She said until she filed a complaint against Walker, there were no issues.
Walker said the problems began more than four months ago.
“It started with barking and got to the point where it’s a nuisance to me, my wife, my daughter and my granddaughter,” said Walker.
Walker said the dog barks when anyone walks up his driveway or when neighbors cross the street to get their mail.
“It barks constantly when it is outside,” said Walker. “My granddaughter doesn’t even want to go on her swing set.”
Walker said when Foster moves the dog to the back of her yard, it is tied to a tree just outside his fence where the swing set is located.
Walker also said Foster accused him of killing her other dog with pool chemicals.
“There was a criminal complaint in Westfield court but she never showed up,” said Walker.
Foster said she tried to reach out to the Walkers at Root’s suggestion and invited Walker and his granddaughter over to meet the puppy.
“The dog licked her,” Foster said.”I’ve moved the dog already and he can’t reach the fence.”
Selectman Chairman Fred Arnold told Foster she has an “obligation to the neighborhood” to keep the dog quiet and away from the neighbors.
Arnold asked Root to inspect Foster’s home to make sure the puppy was moved and report back to the board.

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