PEPPERELL — Newly elected Board of Health member Virginia Malouin stepped right into the debate Monday night on how to proceed with the board’s concerns over 82 Heald St.
“The animal rescue league, the animal inspector, the state veterinarian’s office, the animal control officer, and the town nurse have all been actively working on this together,” said Nashoba Health Agent Kalene Gendron.
In December 2010, Gendron told the board that she made a site visit to 82 Heald St. following numerous calls to town hall regarding barking and loose dogs wandering off that property.
“I was a little shocked when I got on the property,” said Gendron at the time, who counted 60 dogs and four horses on the 10-acre property.
In recent weeks, attention has focused on the well-being of two horses on the property. However, comments by Animal Inspector Robin Hebert at the April 15 board meeting fueled concerns over the well-being of the homeowner and dogs on the property. At the time, Hebert said, “The house is gross. Standing at the door, you can smell the urine.”
“Someone from the state is due out again. And they’re going to measure the horses, and they’re working with her,” said Malouin.
“We’re not just shooting at balloons on the wall here. We’re responding to a legitimate statement by a town employee. That’s my gripe. We’ve let this go and go and go. And not only are the dogs suffering, but the people in that house can’t be living in humane and good conditions,” said Marriner.
“I think we’ve got two issues. One, the dogs, and two, the people, and I’m concerned about both,” he said.
Board member Phillip Durno explained that the town clerk has no records of either dog licenses or rabies vaccination documentation for any of the estimated 22 dogs at the home. Although the homeowner has a kennel permit issued by the town, that license expires at the end of this month, and any renewal will fall under new Massachusetts laws regulating kennels.
All applications for new or renewed kennel permits now require an inspection of the facility by the animal control officer, documentation for animals residing at the kennel including licenses and rabies vaccination documentation licenses for each dog, and certain facilities requirements.
“We want an inspection before our next meeting and a report on it at our next meeting,” said Durno, who, along with the entire board, directed board secretary Sandra Grogan to compose a letter to Animal Control Officer Alicia Flagg.
That letter would detail the board’s complaint based on Hebert’s earlier observations while on the property and be copied to both the Board of Selectmen and the town administrator.
“Kalene has said that she cannot legally go into the building without a very good reason. And that reason will come, I think, through the animal control officer. And then we’ll be able to act on the human side of it,” said Malouin.
The board also agreed to request that Thomas Greenway of 141 Townsend St. appear before the board at their next meeting to explain why he failed to complete Title V repairs to his failed septic system. The board had agreed that those repairs be completed by May 5.
During their Feb. 4 meeting, Durno advised Greenway that the board would consider a further extension beyond May 5 should he need it. However, no request has been made.
The board also reviewed progress at the Pepperell Airport regarding a number of improvements to the camping facility ordered by the board last year with a completion date set for July 10, 2014. Fran Sirimenos, owner of the jump school and skydiving operation at the airport, was before the board to request a camping permit and two variances. The variance allows providing potable water through hoses to the 31 camping sites allowed by the permit.
“I have no objection to the variance as long as you’re using proper hoses,” said Marriner.
The permit was approved.