Pair of German shepherds cause problems in Smithfield

Pair of German shepherds cause problems in Smithfield

Dog owner cited, disputes identity of dogs

SMITHFIELD - The town's animal control warden has charged the owner of two German shepherds with violating the leash law after two dogs allegedly harassed pet rabbits at a Douglas Circle home, three ownerless cats were reported killed, and a raccoon was severely injured and later euthanized.

Warden Thomas Taylor said he could not positively tie the shepherds, which he said are owned by Eleanor Hoar, of Austin Ave., to a series of complaints over the past few years about a pair of shepherds appearing periodically on properties in the neighborhood.

But he said that photographs taken by Animal Control and neighbors showed two shepherds that were later identified as belonging to Hoar. The dogs ran off before they could be captured, he said.

Hoar disputed that the dogs were hers, saying they did not fit the description of the offending dogs that animal control officers gave her. Under the leash law, the citation carries a first-offense fine of $20 for each loose dog. She said it's likely that she'll pay the $40.

According to Diane Maione, of Douglas Circle, two shepherds frequently entered her property in 2011, clawing at the hutch where her 16-year-old daughter keeps three rabbits.

One rabbit was found to have a bloody paw after the latest visit by the dogs shortly before 7 a.m. Sept. 25, Maione said, when the pets were in an outdoor cage they occupy during the day. The other rabbits were not hurt, she said, adding that the attacks are upsetting to the family.

She said it was not clear whether a dog had injured the rabbit or it was hurt trying to stay out of reach.

"I heard barking and the rabbits screaming," Maione said.

The reappearance of loose dogs after a year without incident raised concerns over the safety of children in the neighborhood, off Austin Avenue, according to Maione.

She said the dogs, wearing collars, appeared to weigh 60 to 80 pounds each.

Maione said that in 2011 dogs made five forays into her yard, about three weeks apart, and unsuccessfully attempted to get at the rabbits. They returned again once in 2012, she said.

According to Maione, her daughter is so fond of the rabbits that the family recently spent $1,000 on one of them to have an eye problem treated.

Taylor said Animal Control recently received reports of three cats allegedly killed by dogs in the neighborhood, but found the remains of only one. Another resident reported seeing the dogs attack a raccoon on her deck. Taylor said the raccoon was euthanized, as were six feral cats that were picked up in the area over the past few weeks.

He said ownerless cats have been a problem in the neighborhood. When wild kittens are picked up attempts are made to get them adopted, Taylor said, but the euthanized cats were adults.

According to Town Hall records, Hoar's property is licensed as a kennel, which means all her individual dogs are automatically licensed.

Records indicated that in the town as a whole, 340 dogs are licensed.

Taylor said there are doubtlessly many more dogs than that here, and urged all owners to pay the $8 annual fee at Town Hall to license their pets.