, Derry, New Hampshire

January 3, 2013

Derry neighbors continue to battle over dogs

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — A long-running dispute has one homeowner in the doghouse with his neighbor.

Anthony Lang and Len Budd have lived next door to each other on Robin Road for more than 20 years.

But they’re miles away from being neighborly, thanks to continued conflict over Budd’s dogs.

The men have sparred over the four pets for years, even ending up in court several times. But there’s no end in sight.

Budd is heading back to court next month because the town claims he is not in compliance with the local dog ordinance.

Lang has a long list of complaints against his neighbor’s four canines — a Corgi, a Scottie, a Labrador and Chesapeake Bay retriever. He said the dogs aren’t trained and, as a result, make life tough for him.

He said the dogs dig, bark and do their business in his yard. Lang has made multiple complaints to the town — and has backed up those complaints with photographs.

Just ask Budd. He says his neighbor is “obsessed” with his animals and uses every opportunity to take pictures of them, regardless of what they’re doing.

Lang said the town ordinance could use a little more teeth.

“The law has a real problem here,” he said. “Especially for those of us who live with it day in and day out.”

Any wandering dog or cat can be called a “nuisance” if it wanders onto another person’s property, according to the town ordinance. Dogs that dig, scratch, go to the bathroom where they shouldn’t, bark excessively, bite or chase vehicles could be in trouble — or, at least, their owners could be.

That trouble includes fines, something Budd is familiar with.

“But every time I pay, I feel like I’m saying I’m guilty,” he said.

Budd said he is a good pet owner. He said he has a fence and tries to make sure his animals stay on his property. He said he often takes his Corgi and Scottie to work with him; the other dogs stay in the house during the day.

“I’m a real animal lover,” Budd said. “But I think the goal is to try and take my dogs away.”

He said living on Robin Road has become almost unbearable.

“He’s always out there,” Budd said of his neighbor. “He’ll go around the neighborhood in his truck, trying to get a picture.”

The town dog ordinance says if dog owners don’t keep their animals under control they could also face the potential loss of the animal.

Budd is afraid he may someday lose his dogs.

“It just gets escalated every time,” he said.

Budd said he loves his dogs and, if the situation doesn’t improve, he may consider moving from Robin Road.

“I am so careful,” he said. “They are good dogs, they’re my kids. But this is excessive.”