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Residents of North Versailles Twp.’s Fairhaven neighborhood told commissioners that several dogs, including a pit bull and a German shepherd, are creating a dangerous nuisance.
At the September meeting, Daryl Anderson told commissioners that he didn’t report a recent incident when he was bitten by a dog while walking along Joan Drive — but he now wishes he had.
“I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve been walking the streets for 11 years since I retired, and I never had a dog problem,” Anderson said. “And that dog came from the garage door — didn’t bark, didn’t growl, jumped up and bit me and broke my skin.”
Township officials said that some commissioners were aware of dog problems in the neighborhood because residents have been posting about dog problems on social media, but not filing an official complaint.
“Social media is a beautiful thing if you want to let neighbors know,” township Police Chief James Matrazzo said, “but you need to call us, because if that animal is outside the yard then we, as law enforcement officers, can take custody.”
Matrazzo said he has personally visited and spoken with several dog owners. In one case, a homeowner had a poorly constructed fence around their yard that wasn’t keeping their dog confined.
Officials said that according to Sable Kennels, which handles animal control issues in the township, all of the dogs are up to date on their licenses and shots.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Matrazzo said, no humane society officers are being dispatched to dog complaints, which means police are handling them through the magistrate’s office, and there are delays in hearing cases.
Township Solicitor Greg Evashavik said dog owners are entited to due process and that it can take time to resolve a complaint. But, he said, residents need to report problems to police in a timely manner, especially when there are issues of immediate concern.
Kristen Keleschenyi is a freelance writer in North Versailles Twp. and one of the hosts of the Kristen & Amber Show on WMCK Internet Radio at 5 p.m. Saturdays, 9 p.m. Mondays and 4 p.m. Thursdays. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published September 22, 2020.