PEPPERELL -- Action is being taken against the owner of 82 Heald St., where an unknown number of dogs and two horses have been kept in living conditions that have concerned town officials.
"The way she's living now is not good for her and it's not good for the town," Board of Health Chairman Phil Durno said at a meeting Tuesday night.
Town Administrator John Moak said in an interview that the living conditions at the property have been a problem for many months.
"We have sent a series of letters over the last year, including visits by Animal Control to this address. We were hoping that the owner would adhere to state and local regulations and either find homes for the dogs or license them," Moak said. "We have not taken aggressive action because we had no solution to care for 14 dogs."
Last week, 14 of the dogs were removed by the Animal Rescue League and are currently being held in their shelters, Moak said. Four of the dogs are still living at the address.
At the Board of Health meeting, Durno said that the two horses that were kept on the property were euthanized. This action followed many months of discussion about the poor conditions of the horses that were said to be starving.
At a site walk on Sept. 23, Health Agent Kalene Gendron said she identified three critical health code violations at the site -- the side door was not secured from unlawful entry, the electricity appeared to be turned off and urine or feces could be smelled more than 10 feet away from the building.
"The inside of the house is, in my opinion, unlivable," Durno said.
Durno said the owner's unwillingness to cooperate with the Board of Health has been frustrating.
"We've been playing this game for two years," he said.
Although the owner did not attend the public hearing, the owner of the mortgage on the property did attend to say that he was working through the court system to regain the title to the property and would cooperate with the town once that happened.
"We are ready, willing and able to do whatever we have to do once we get title to the property," said Dave Rodgers of Workers' Credit Union.
"We'll work to bring it to a condition that you would find acceptable," he said.
The board voted to table the issue for 30 days until Rodgers can come back with a new report on the status of the property title.
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