Fraud Against Taxpayers of Salisbury

The seaside town of Salisbury, MA is home to about 8300 people.  The town contracts Harold Congdon to serve as ACO and to operate a dog pound.  Mr. Congdon and his daughter, Tina Boucher, pick up stray and lost dogs in Salisbury and bring them to a junkyard owned by Mr. Congdon.  The dogs are housed in an unheated metal box with fencing, except in winter.  (The article doesn’t say what happens to the community’s dogs in winter.)

Owners wanting to reclaim their dogs must pay by cash or check made out to Mr. Congdon or Ms. Boucher.  They charge owners about $95 a day and they personally pocket the money.  One owner described to a local news reporter how Ms. Boucher came into her yard and cut the rope to which her dog was tied.  She was told the exorbitant redemption fees were to cover the wages of the person paid to care for the dogs.  When the owner was unable to pay the fees, the dog was “adopted by someone else”.

It’s not at all clear to me how any dog would get adopted from a private junkyard.  I check PetFinder and while there is a contact page for the pound, there are zero pets listed for adoption.  I found no other website listing pets at the pound.  Although it is winter currently, the TV news crew was allowed to film the metal box and there clearly had been dogs in the cages recently.

Mr. Congdon and Ms. Boucher do not deny they are pocketing the money from the dog pound.   Ms. Boucher told the reporter the money she receives goes toward buying food for the pound dogs.  The reporter made some inquiries:

Money taken in by animal control officers is supposed to be recorded at town of city hall.

In Salisbury, the town provided records of fines collected by animal control, which had dropped steeply over the past three years. In 2010 there was $1,585 collected. The next year, $385 was collected, and last year just $175 dollars in fines was collected.

[...] Salisbury Town Manager Neil Harrington, who along with officials from the town’s health department didn’t return repeated calls from FOX Undercover looking for [additional dog pound] records.

Mr. Congdon too failed to produce records on the dogs he says he and his daughter have picked up as well as records of vet care.

Many local dog owners reported bad experiences with the ACOs and the pound but didn’t want to go on camera or have their names used in the story, for fear of retaliation by the ACOs against their pets:

“I can’t imagine that it’s costing them anything to care for those dogs because the food is donated, the dogs are getting no medical care, they’re not paying for heat,” she said.

The person also spoke with a volunteer who told her she was the only one caring for the dogs this past fall.

“What she told me was that the dogs were very poorly cared for prior to her coming in. Some days they were fed, some days they weren’t. They didn’t get out at all,” she said.

Mr. Congdon is running for a spot on the board of selectmen.  He says if pets could vote, he would easily be elected.

This story has all the hallmarks of a corrupt town government.  It appears as if the ACOs are personally profiting from people’s pets – in at least one case possibly even stealing them –  and the municipality is happy to look the other way.  I don’t know why the local officials would do that unless they are all animal haters who relish the thought of pets suffering or perhaps they are getting kickbacks in exchange for their silence.  Whatever the reasons behind this gigantic fraud, it will no doubt continue until local taxpayers stand up and demand reform.  I hope that happens.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Leave a comment

14 Comments

  1. Vicki Aucremanne

     /  February 14, 2013

    oh my….just when you think it cannot get worse….

    Reply
  2. Arlene

     /  February 14, 2013

    It is just mind boggling that the people just sit by and do nothing! Not only are the animals being abused in this way, the people are being used to fund this. Is there no one with a backbone? Where are they? Step up and fix this!

    Reply
    • Sam Daysin

       /  February 22, 2013

      The people are speaking up about this. Pet owners are out raged by this disgusting and disgraceful disorder. The problem is the Town Manager Neil Harrington. He is supporting the ACO, who by the way is also running for Selectman in an upcoming special election to be held in town in April. I suspect Harrington, who should be ousted out of office because he is so corrupt and does NOTHING for the town, has backed his ACO in a plot to get residents to pity the guy for a vote in April. Fox25 Boston is doing a great job with the undercover story. I expect they will have a rebuttal again on the comments made by the Town Manager Harrington and the lies. Congdon should be arrested! Harrington is allowing animal abuse in town by backing the ACO and allowing him to continue. I was called by the ACO one day to come in to identify a cat that may have been mine. Do you know the cat was in a dumpster with other dead animals? I was so angry I called the police who responded and all they could do was take a report from me. The ACO did not admit to placing the cat in the dumpster, luckily for me it was not my cat. But there were a few dead cats in the dumpster which IS located on his property in the area where the kennel is located. The dumpster had more than what appeared to be several decomposing dead animals in it. The police ordered Congdon to clean up the mess and dispose of the animals properly. He should have been arrested, as it is federal law that animals do not get abused.

      Reply
  3. mikken

     /  February 14, 2013

    Somebody knows somebody. And when they want money, they can just steal dogs and then collect. Or flip them. Either way, they’re pocketing the cash.

    Do they have a microchip scanner? Do they have any provisions for injured animals? Do they have any sort of training or licensing or ANYTHING?

    How is it that this place is still functioning like it’s 1952? And why is it being allowed to continue?

    Reply
    • Sam Daysin

       /  February 22, 2013

      It’s allowed to continue because the corrupt town manager Neil Harrington allows it to continue. There should be a formal investigation in the town’s financials, which by the way they haven’t produced to the public since before 2008. They can’t because they don’t know what’s going on in the Town office. I’ve asked for the financial report for 2012. The answer I got was, we’re working on one for 2013. I can send you the most recent one we have. Sure, I said. When I received it, it was a 2007 report. Huh? What’s this I asked. The Town’s finacial officer said, that’s the most recent report we have. I said, the town is supposed to report to the State annually. Yes, I know he says, but we’re working on the 2013 report. Who’s at fault? Neil Harrington.

      Reply
  4. mikken

     /  February 14, 2013

    If I were a local to this place, I would set up a hidden camera – easy enough to hide in that junkyard.

    Reply
  5. ezbuddy

     /  February 15, 2013

    When crooked “authorities” have control, who else are you going to call, Ghost Busters? How are police going to confront a township’s authorized entity? They basicly have “permission” to function in any crooked manner they feel like. Missionaries are needed to take names, kick ass & disappear until needed again.

    Where is Batman when you need him?

    Reply
  6. eric

     /  February 15, 2013

    I live 5 towns over and this made me f’n sick, they should be stripped of their titles and forced to refund all the money they took from dog owners that they had either pay cash or write a check directly to them….

    Reply
    • eric

       /  February 15, 2013

      Salisbury,MA Animal Control Officer
      (978) 420-2744… call and display your outrage, nothing will change if we don’t….

      Reply
      • nukeengr

         /  February 22, 2013

        Salisbury, MA Town Manager
        (978) 465-2310… call Neil Harrington to express your outrage about his support for the animal contol officer and why doesn’t he step down if he can’t run the town properly.

  7. Sam Daysin

     /  February 23, 2013

    What’s the point to this site if I can’t make an opinion. I don’t understand why my comments weren’t moderated and added.

    Reply
    • Sam, This blog is run by one person – me. While I do review comments in the moderation queue as soon as I see them, sometimes there is a delay between the comment being posted and me seeing it. This is because I am unable to spend all day and all night online. There are times when I have internet connectivity problems, general computer trouble, or more commonly, I have to go to work, go to sleep, buy groceries, and other various life tasks. I hope this explains the delay in your comment appearing on the blog.

      Reply
  8. Clarice

     /  February 26, 2013

    “As a result of the allegations, Town Manager Neil Harrington is altering procedures on how animals are confiscated and where they are boarded. He said all the improvement are aimed at eliminating any semblance of impropriety and not because he thinks the town’s animal control officers have done anything wrong.”

    http://www.newburyportnews.com/local/x1874093211/Animal-control-changes-in-works

    Reply
    • But for now, it’s still dog-in-a-box and exorbitant redemption fees payable directly to the ACOs who may or may not have stolen your dog. Unacceptable.

      On Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 10:13 AM, YesBiscuit!

      Reply

Speak!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 921 other followers

%d bloggers like this: