Meeting Minutes : Select Board Dog Hearing

Town of Pittsford

Select Board Dog Hearing

December 17, 2014


Thomas “Hank” Pelkey opened the meeting at 7:34 PM.


Select Board members present were: Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Thomas Hooker, Dave Trombley, W. Joseph Gagnon, and Jane Cornell.  Also present were:  Betsy Morgan, Baird Morgan, Bonnie Capowski, John Haverstock and Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.


This meeting was recorded.


  1. Pelkey opened the hearing and explained the order of business for the hearing.

The rules for the hearing:  the Select Board will adjudicate the complaint.  All comments must be directed to the Chair.  A party must be recognized by the Chair before speaking. Testimony is to be given under oath. Every interested party will have an opportunity to question everyone who gives testimony.  There are no other fixed rules of evidence.  The Select Board may accept any evidence it believes will help it in its deliberations; the Select Board will deliberate in executive session, the Board will issue Finds of Fact, Conclusions of Law and, an Order regarding the dogs (if any) within ten days of the hearing.


  1. Pelkey asked whoever in the audience that is prepared to give testimony to raise their hands. T. Pelkey led the swearing in by asking them to reply “I do” after the following statement: “ I do swear or affirm that the testimony I provide to the Select Board in this matter before it will be true and complete to the best of my knowledge”. All present to give testimony replied “I do”.  (Those sworn in were:  Baird Morgan, Betsy Morgan and Bonnie Capowski)


  1. Pelkey asked for the complainants to state their names and their case.


Chairman Pelkey entered into evidence an item labeled ‘A’– a letter from Ms. Capowski.


Ms. Capowski stated that there were no further written exhibits to be entered as evidence. She stated that there is an on-going practice of Ms. Morgan to walk her dog along Elm Street and the dog urinates on the mailbox of Ms. Capowski and occasionally defecates in her flower beds and the lawn.  Ms. Capowski stated that, as she was leaving one day, she witnessed the Morgan’s dog urinating on the mailbox.  Ms. Capowski turned around to speak with Ms. Morgan regarding this.  Ms. Capowski related that she requested that Ms. Morgan have her “do its business elsewhere” as it stinks and she is left to clean up the mess.  According to Ms. Capowski, Ms. Morgan replied “bullshit” and walked off.


  1. Gagnon inquired how long this has been occurring. Ms. Capowski stated that the previous dog that was also owned by the Morgans’ did the same thing and Ms. Capowski feels that it is unfair. She says she also has to hose the tractor after mowing the lawn.


Ms. Capowski stated that she would just like this practice to stop and have the dog use other places.

Ms. Morgan stated that she is well aware of the Town Ordinance.  She testified that Ms. Capowski was not civil during their most recent discussion and did not show respect.  Ms. Morgan stated that the mailbox is across the street from the Capowski residence on property that is owned by the Whites and that it is in the Town Right of Way.  Ms. Morgan stated that she finds it difficult to understand the odor complaint as the dog urinates “small squirts” as a male dog marks his territory.  She also noted that hers is not the only dog that is walked along Elm Street.  Ms. Morgan stated that her dog only defecates in tall grass and has done so since it was a puppy.  Ms. Morgan stated that when the weather permits, they walk their dog along the Pittsford Trails. Ms. Morgan stated that the dog is at camp during the summer months.




The Board unanimously agreed to go into closed Deliberative Session at 7:44 PM.


The Board came out of closed Deliberative Session at 8:21 PM.


After review and consideration of the Town of Pittsford Animal Control Ordinance, the complaint, the Constable’s report, and all of the testimony and exhibits submitted, the Select Board issued the following:


Findings of Fact


Following a duly noticed Dog Hearing on December 17, 2014, the Select Board finds as follows:


  • Respondent Betsy Morgan admits that her dog, Odin, has frequently urinated upon the mailbox owned by complainant Bonnie Capowski.
  • The parties dispute whether said dog also has, on occasion, defecated on the Capowski’s property.


Conclusions of Law


  • Based upon the uncontroverted testimony of complainant Bonnie Capowski and the admission of respondent Betsey Morgan, the Morgans, as owners/keeers of Odin, have repeatedly violated Section 5(c) of the Town’s Animal Ordinance, which prohibits an owner or keeper of a domestic pet from allowing it to “cause damage to property…or create a public nuisance.”




  • The Board hereby Orders that the Morgans refrain from allowing their dog, Odin,   to urinate upon the property owned by the Capowskis (including their mailbox).


  • In the event that the offending conduct should continue, the Morgans will be subject to fines, as set forth in Section 16(a) of the Animal Ordinance.

Respectfully submitted:




Kelly Giard

Recording Secretary


Thomas“Hank” Pelkey, Chair


  1. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman



David Trombley, Selectman


______________________________                                                                                                Thomas Hooker, Selectman



Jane Cornell, Selectman