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Springfield Neighborhood Concerned over Stray Dogs


SPRINGFIELD , Mass. (WGGB) –Springfield’s Maple Heights/Six Corners is a neighborhood with several rental properties that undergoes a change once the first of the month rolls around.

Now that the weather is warming up, folks who live there will start seeing even more stray dogs. “Not everybody is responsible enough to take their dogs to the shelter. We walk our dogs regularly. My wife actually has to carry stuff with her to make sure she can defend herself,” said Springfield City Councilor Melvin Edwards.

That’s because a stray pit bull attacked his wife last year, while she was walking two of their rescue dogs. “Of course, my wife was bit 10 times. She had both pads on each of these fingers torn off  and she had 8 bites from the wrist up her arm,”

Police say they do respond to every 911 call. Edwards understands that responding to a call about stray dogs might be delayed if police get called to a more serious incident.

Edwards says they call animal control officers 5-6 times a month, and appreciates their work.

TJ O’Connor only has 4 full time animal control officers serving Springfield, Chicopee, & Holyoke, on call 24/7 for emergencies. “Trying to be, of course everywhere at every time is virtually impossible. What we’re about to see with the changing of the seasons, with spring being here, and such nice weather, animal control demand is going to go right through the roof,” TJ O’Connor Director Pam Peebles stated.

If it might seem like a strain on the officers, that’s because it is.

It all comes down to funding. “It’s hard whether it be police department, fire department, school depart, they’re carrying out very important responsibilities. I would love for people to understand the complexity of animal control. I also realize we’re competing with a small pool of money,” added Peebles.

As for Edwards, he and his wife are anxious now to see stray dogs roaming, and hope neighbors take better care of their animals.

Edwards conducted a study with Brookings School students about the most difficult aspects of walking to school.

What they found most stressful, was passing stray dogs, and passing people outside of liquor stores at that hour.

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