By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — Dogs officially can have their day in Londonderry.
It’s not unusual to see Fluffy or Fido stopping by the senior center on any given day to spend some time while owners take part in programs.
Muffins, a 6-year-old Shih Tzu, often comes to the center with owner Theresa Swain Frederick and waits patiently until it’s time to go home.
The town is pet friendly, according to Town Manager Kevin Smith, who recently put out a new set of rules for animals in public buildings like town hall or the senior center.
“Dogs and all other pets are allowed,” Smith said, “but must be attended to at all times.”
He said the pet-friendly effort came after senior center director Catherine Blash asked if the town had any restrictions on pets being at that building.
Smith said there was nothing official on the books.
“Pets have always been a very welcome thing, and seniors are very attached to their pets,” he said. “We wanted to make sure they were still welcome.”
Frederick said pets have been welcome at the senior center for a long time. A former director regularly brought her dog to work.
“We used to have dog socials,” she said.
Anyone wanting to bring their pet along now must follow the rules, including not leaving animals alone at any time and keeping them away from the kitchen.
That goes for Muffins at the senior center, who must steer clear of any food areas.
It’s not just someone bringing in a much-needed service animal while they do town business. The pet policy also covers those animals that just come along when owners are in and out of buildings. That includes town staff.
Anyone bringing an animal into the building is responsible for any cleanup if the animal does not behave.
Any pets discovered unsupervised will be asked to leave, along with their owners, and any damage to town property will be the owners’ responsibility.
Smith said he hasn’t seen many pets stopping by town hall yet, but that doesn’t he won’t. Now, there is a policy in place that spells out the rules.
“But I don’t think, as a practice, we would have pets here regularly,” he said.
The policy was put in place mostly for the town’s senior citizens, Smith said, as he realizes they appreciate having their pets nearby.
“It’s a good morale practice, too,” he said. “They do love their little dogs.”