Dalton Police Department Welcomes Comfort Poodle
DALTON, Mass. — Town officials met the Police Department's new comfort dog on Monday.
Police Chief Deanna Strout and Officer Tyler Miller attended the Select Board meeting to introduce the 8-week-old poodle, who will unofficially join the force on Wednesday.
"This is our very first time meeting him as well," Strout said to the board with excitement.
The pup will be assigned to work and live with Officer Tyler Miller.
The Select Board approved the addition of a comfort dog unit two weeks ago. These four-legged officers are traditionally intended to provide ease for post-traumatic incidents or during interview processes.
The pup was donated by Berkshire Poodles, a breeding program run out of a home in Pittsfield. Owners Lee Kohlenberger — a Pittsfield Firefighter — and his wife, Kaitlyn Kohlenberger, recently donated a comfort dog named Winston to the Pittsfield Police Department.
Officer Winston arrived in mid-September and has since provided relief inside and outside of the Pittsfield Police station's walls.
Strout said the Dalton Police Department actually got the idea to have a comfort dog after having a visit from Winston. She reached out on the department's Facebook page to gauge interest and when it was met with enthusiasm, contacted Berkshire Poodles.
"They're amazing," Strout said about the Kohlenbergers, adding that they wouldn't have been able to start this program without them.
The Kohlenbergers' website touts their holistic practices, emphasizing that the breed is a hobby and passion and that they are not a kennel. They purchased their first standard poodles in 2012 and firmly believe the breed is for everyone.
The Police Department will be looking to the community to name its new furry officer, hosting a naming competition on Facebook.
Select Board member Marc Strout said the comfort dog will be a great asset to the department and the town.
The board also voted to plow and sand River Street Extension until May 1, 2022, after receiving a work request from residents.
The street has not been accepted by the town but the town has apparently been taking care of it for years.
On Sept. 20, River Street Extension residents received a notice from Town Manager Tom Hutchinson saying the town would no longer be maintaining the street. Their neighbors, the River Run Apartments, met with the town and is taking responsibility for its portion of River Street.
The residents felt blindsided by this.
Hutchinson reported that the former highway superintendent did not know why there was an exception being made for the street but preferred not to take responsibility for it.
One of his major concerns was River Run's segment because the pavement was deteriorating.
After receiving this information, Hutchinson sent the letter to the inhabitants of the private way.
Highway Superintendent Edward "Bud" Hall was re-employed by the town in August after a few years away and said the town had maintained it before.
One of the petitioners said it was difficult to find an owner of the street, even with extensive research. When the resident purchased the house, she was reportedly told it was a town road and did not know any different until September.
There is also no history of a private road agreement.
Select Board member John Boyle suggested that the River Run Apartments be good neighbors and maintain the whole road after it was speculated that the complex could end maintenance at its property lines.
The annual tax classification hearing was on the agenda but it was continued to Monday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m. because of external staffing shortages in reviewing the necessary submissions.