‘Nuisance’ dogs risk being rehomed if owner remains non-compliant

Nov 29, 2023

The “nuisance” dogs of Calvin Carnes on Barrett Way in East Wareham will be seized by Animal Control and rehomed if Carnes does not both comply with Select Board orders and license and vaccinate the dogs by Wednesday, Jan. 10.

Back in 2019, the three Cane Corso dogs were deemed a nuisance by the Select Board due to several complaints about barking.

Since then, Carnes has worked to remedy the situation, but has found the barking collars he ordered for the dogs don’t always work and the fence he built with his neighbor is not escape proof. The dogs were able to plow through the fence multiple times, despite repeated attempts at reinforcing it.

In 2021, Carnes was found to be in violation of the nuisance dog order, and was asked to comply with the remaining 2019 mandates.

Now, there are a number of complaints from neighbors regarding the dogs barking in the early morning, mainly between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., which is a violation of his orders from 2019. The dogs are also escaping the yard at varying times in the day, according to Animal Control Officer Devin Cloutier. 

Carnes’ neighbor Patricia Morrison testified at the hearing, stating she has often been woken up in the night due to the dogs barking and fears walking past his house when the dogs are in the front yard.

“I'm not saying they bite me,” Morrison said. “But if they got loose again and jumped on me — at 80 years old — I'd probably end up in a nursing home.”

She said while Carnes is always nice about her complaints, the problems have still not been remedied.

“This has been going on for many, many, many years,” she added. “I've tried to be patient, but I’m at my wits end.”

In addition to the complaints, the dogs are also lacking vaccinations and licensure. 

Carnes said he has been unable to comply with the law due to financial difficulties, but that he will get it done if granted more time. 

Select Board members pointed out the costly fees Carnes has been paying for the violations.

Select Board member Ronald Besse said, “If we can pay fines, we can pay to get them registered. We can pay to get them vaccinated. We can pay to make it compliant.”

To help Carnes, Select Board member Jared Chadwick recommended trying the Citronella barking collars that use a spray as opposed to an electric collar, which can be inhumane. He also suggested a closeby pop-up clinic coming up in December where Carnes can get all three dogs vaccinated.

Carnes said he is doing his “best” to comply and that he has no problem following the recommendations; he just needs more time. 

However, Board members said they felt Carnes had plenty of time given the original complaints occurred approximately four years ago.

Having attended the previous two dog hearings for Carnes, Select Board Chair Judith Whiteside said, “I have virtually no patience for your situation.”

The Board’s new orders are as follows: 

Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., the dogs can only be outside if they are individually walked on a leash with a barking collar.

The dogs must always have a barking collar if they are outside. 

Carnes must comply with these orders as well as vaccinate and license each of the dogs by Wednesday, Jan. 10. Failure to comply will result in the seizure of the dogs by the Animal Control Department.