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Dog shelter row raises resident anger

Valley Road resident Vincent Tuzo said yesterday that he is fed up with the constant noise from the dogs at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter and called for the shelter to move.

And he charged that after six months, a plan that promised to soundproof the area has not yet materialised.

"I haven't had a decent sleep for a few nights,'' Mr. Tuzo said. "They were going to soundproof the place and that was supposed to take six weeks.

"Now it's six months later, and nothing has been done. With a dozen dogs or more making noise, it's irritating. This is summer and I can't even keep my windows open at night, because the dogs are barking.'' In an effort to try and curb the noise, Mr. Tuzo said he had called Police on numerous occasions, but he said there was only so much they were willing to do.

He noted there was one dog in particular that he has identified as the problem and he questioned why the dog cannot be removed from the area.

"I live high up and the kennel is in the valley,'' he said. "I can see the dog from where I stay.

"There is one dog and when he starts, they all follow. It's a problem that is not getting any better.'' SPCA president, Deborah Riley, said she was aware of Mr. Tuzo's claim and maintained that her organisation was doing all it could to find a solution to the issue.

She noted, however, that there have been problems with the SPCA receiving the necessary materials to complete the sound proofing project.

"We are still working on sound proofing the area,'' Ms Riley said. "The project has come to a halt, because half the doors have not been delivered.

"We've made Mr. Tuzo aware of this. What more does he expect?'' But Mr. Tuzo said he did not think a residential area was a good place for a dog shelter and suggested that the operation be moved to another location, such as the former US Naval Annex in Southampton.

"They need to move it to another area,'' he said. "There are volunteers that come through to walk the dogs and they allow the dogs to do dirt on the side.

Sometimes it's in my driveway.'' However, Ms Riley said Mr. Tuzo was a lone voice in his complaints and said that it is not as serious a problem in the neighbourhood as he had made it to be.

"We're an animal shelter and dogs bark,'' she said. "Unfortunately recent bad weather causes them to bark and we also have people trespassing onto the property.

"We haven't had any complaints about the noise. He is the only one.'' But Mr. Tuzo maintained that he is not alone in his complaints and that neighbours have come to him repeatedly to ask him to address the problem.

"I guess it's because I'm outspoken,'' he said. "The neighbours complain, but they are afraid to go face to face with these people.

"A lot of people have moved away from here, because of the animals and the noise there. Something has to be done.''