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North Adams Dangerous Dog Situation Appears Muzzled

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A problem with dogs on Northern Lights Avenue seems to be resolved — at least for the moment. 
The Public Safety Committee back in July had authorized two dogs be euthanized after they attacked several people. l One, Piglet, was put down but the second, Pretty Boy, was offered another lease on life when a Connecticut rescue thought suitable for rehabilitation. Owner Luis Torres was ordered to properly license and neuter the remaining three dogs and keep them under control.  
On Monday, the committee heard an update on the situation from Animal Control Officer Carrie Loholdt, who said two dogs, Pretty Boy and a sibling, had both been taken by the rescue. Of the remaining dogs, referred to as the mother and father, the female is currently up on her rabies shots and has been spayed. 
The male dog has yet to be neutered because the veterinarian is "booked out" so it won't happen for a couple months, Loholdt said. However, with the female fixed, there would be no more chances for puppies, she affirmed in answer to a question. 
None of the dogs had been licensed and Torres had claimed he did not know that was required, or that having five dogs on the property called for a kennel license. He had initially appealed the euthanization of the two younger dogs but then agreed to have the more aggressive one put down and the other surrendered to the rescue. 
There was an incident a few weeks ago when one of the "parent" dogs got loose and went into the yard of the neighbor who had been attacked. Chairman Jason LaForest asked if there had been any further issues. 
"I heard of one incident so far that the dogs got loose," said Loholdt. "I'm not sure if there was any more. I didn't hear of any more."
Councilor Peter Oleskiewicz, recently appointed to the committee, asked if the two dogs would be returned from the rescue. 
"No, never, they're never going to come back to the city," said Loholdt. The dogs were also chipped to ensure they would be tracked. 
The committee will review the situation again at its next meeting, said LaForest, next meeting to see "if there are any time-related issues or issues with the other animals getting loose and causing problems in the neighborhood."
• The committee also reviewed the progress of stabilizing the Hoosac Mill's wall along Union Street. The mill's roof had caved in years ago and the owner, Ariel Sutain, had attempted to maintain the distinctive sawtooth brickwork. However, the "teeth" begain shedding bricks and the committee requested he come up with a plan to fix it. Most of the teeth are gone but he was able to salvage a few on one end of the 500-foot-long building. 
"I walked the area yesterday and there was nothing in terms of any brick debris anywhere along the entire side so there was nothing that raised any concern for me," said committee member Benjamin Lamb. The issue's been on the backburner since March, but Lamb said, "I also think that he secured it well enough prior that it hasn't been an issue since our last meeting when we did have the presentation and discussion."
• The committee motioned to get an outline for next steps from the Traffic Commission in putting in signage and enforcement for the Birchwood Terrace area. Lamb said he had been contacted by residents in that neighborhood who had been concerned about vehicular in a residential area that now has a number of young families. 
It had been discussed at Traffic Commission, he said, and Chairman David Sacco was planning to request more police enforcement and drive-throughs. There was also talk of having more speed limit signs or "children at play" signs be installed at the ends of the streets, which would be preferable sooner rather than later. 
"Especially now the kids are going back to school, whatever that looks like going back to school, they're going to be out and about more," Lamb said. "And wanting those those families and feel safe and that they've been heard in terms of trying to keep the neighborhood as kid friendly as possible."
The committee is expected to vote on an ordinance next meeting to attempt to fix the ongoing problem of cars parking along the sides of Protection Avenue during sporting events at Alcombright Athletic Complex. The communication had been submitted by Councilor Marie T. Harpin last year. 
"I think this is another one of those pieces of enforcement myself, personally as a team sponsor and family members that do play youth sports, I'm out there quite often and as you said earlier, the parking lots are pretty much empty and the people are parking on the grass and on either side of the road," said Oleskiewicz.
There is a parking lot for the field and the public also has the right to park in the Greylock Works parking lot. 
LaForest said he had driven by in the afternoon and there was still the problem of cars on one side of the street up to the corner and past the sharp corner where his grandparents' house had stood, they were on the grass and not in the parking lot. 
The Traffic Commission had forwarded a proposal after reviewing the site last fall during sports season. It would continue to allow parking on the southerly past the rear of Greylock Works to 137 Protection Ave., and then no parking from that point on the west side for 700 feet to the south. On the east side, there would be no parking along chain link fence adjacent the soccer field. 
LaForest said he would formulate an ordinance for the next meeting. "However, enforcement again will need to be upheld or we'll have to find additional resources for the Police Department to ticket individuals who are parked illegally," he said. 
• The committee also began discussions on sidewalk-clearing ordinances and possible changes in signage to the East Main, Miner and Pleasant Street intersections.

Tags: dangerous dog,   public safety,   

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Massachusetts Early Voting Runs Through Oct. 29

A record turnout is expected for the 2020 election as states with early voting say they are surpassing numbers from just four years ago. The Washington Post reported that turnout is already at 70 percent of the total early voting numbers of 2016. Massachusetts on Tuesday has already seen more than 1 million early and mail-in ballots two weeks before the election; in 2016, the total for the election was 1,038,144.  
Voting in advance or by mail is being encouraged to reduce long lines and potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. Early voting in person began on Oct. 17. 
If you are mailing a ballot, the U.S. Postal Service recommends that it have been in the mail by Oct. 20 to ensure it arrives by Nov. 3. You can also drop off your mail-in ballot in person at your town or city hall and many have secure drop boxes for ballots so they can be returned at any time. Make sure the drop box is legitimate -- don't fall for cardboard boxes or handmade signs. 
Early in-person voting ends on Oct. 29. 
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