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Gloria Smith poses with two of her dogs outside her kennel on Pinewood Road. (Click for larger image)

Town of Cochecton is going to the dogs


LAKE HUNTINGTON — Sal Indelicato is frustrated. After three years, dogs are still plaguing the town board and costing it money.

The issue? Town of Cochecton vs. Gloria Smith, the owner of a dog kennel on Pinewood Road.

“We have spent more time and money on this than any other matter that has come before the board,” Indelicato told the audience at the town meeting last Wednesday. “It’s way over $10,000.”

“This is not about dogs,” said Jeffrey Clemente, Smith’s attorney. “It’s about hindering this woman while a kennel down the road has nearly 100 dogs and nothing is being done.” Clemente was referring to the Lazarian Society for Animals.

“If she would merely conform to the town’s ordinances, everyone would go home happy,” said Neal Halloran, Cochecton code enforcement officer (CEO).

Smith’s kennel, which was first owned by Adel Rabah of New York City and rented by Smith, was grandfathered into the law when a new town ordinance limiting kennels was passed. The kennel was allowed to house around 45 dogs, Halloran said.

Then in October, Smith purchased the property from Rabah.

“She exceeded the number that was grand fathered and brought in around 60 or 70 dogs without seeking a special use permit,” Halloran said. She also put up several structures without seeking a building permit, he said.

Neighbors of the kennel have frequently appeared before the board to complain about the barking and the smell. Last Wednesday, a petition with over 50 signatures were presented to the board to protest Smith’s sister, who is allegedly seeking to establish another kennel.

“We live next door to Smith and the noise and the smell are terrible,” said Barbara Attianese. Attianese said she had evidence that Smith dumped dog and cat excrement on her property, but Smith denies it.

Smith has not yet received a summons from the CEO telling her to seek a special use permit. At the board meeting Indelicato firmly directed the CEO to do his duty and issue the necessary  summons.

“The CEO is wrong about how many dogs I had when I moved in,” Smith said. “I had more like 70 dogs. And my position is that I was grand fathered for over 60 dogs.

“We counted them,” Halloran said. “When she moved in, I myself counted slightly less than 45 dogs.”

“I’m being singled out,” Smith said. “Other people can build whatever they want without any trouble. The people who complain have nothing else to do than annoy me. One lady sits outside my property and watches me continually.”

“This entire action is ludicrous and a waste of money,” Clemente said.

“I’m an animal activist and I can’t stand seeing animals abused and forgotten,” Smith said.

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