Sit, stay, paws behind your back!

Laconia issues 780 warrants for those with unlicensed dogs

By RICK GREEN, Laconia Daily Sun

LACONIA — Fido and Rover beware.

Unlicensed dogs in Laconia are subject to a warrant approved by the City Council on Monday night.

City Clerk Mary Reynolds is sending out 780 letters today to residents, informing them that they owe a fine for not licensing their canines.


“State statute requires that the council issue a warrant for all dogs that are unlicensed and it comes with a $25 fine per dog,” she said. “Technically, they could seize dogs. That's what the warrant does, it allows us to impose a fine and seize a dog.”

However, no dog has actually been seized under such a warrant in Reynolds' 11 years with the city.

“The dog officer doesn't seize dogs unless they are running at large or are vicious,” Reynolds said.

People have until April 30 of each year to license their dogs. Proof of a rabies vaccination is required for a license, which costs $6.50 if a dog has been spayed or neutered. The charge for a dog that has not been altered is $9. If the dog owner is 65 or older, the licensing cost for a person's first dog is $2, and regular charges apply to additional dogs.

Dog owners have the entire month of May as a grace period if they haven't met the deadline. Overdue notices went out the first week of May.

“We got a lot of response from those,” Reynolds said. “A lot of people let us know their dogs were not here anymore. They were deceased, things like that. And we did get a lot of people who came in and licensed their dogs. But a lot of people ignored the notices.”

Ultimately, if people refuse to respond to notifications from the city, they may receive a visit from a Laconia animal control officer dog control. If a court summons has to be issued for failure to comply, a $50 charge can be levied.

“The dog officer chases down the habitual offenders,” Reynolds said.

The best bet is for people to license and re-license their pets on time.

“We don't want to impose fines any more than they want to pay them,” she said. “Our intention is not to take possession of anyone's animals, but to achieve compliance. We want to make sure dogs have their rabies shots and are all licensed. If a dog gets out and bites someone, we want documentation. And, we can find the owner of a lost dog with a license.”

Typically, about 25 percent of the people who get letters regarding unlicensed dogs say they no longer have the animal. Some letters are returned because the owner no longer lives at the recorded address.

People who don't renew a dog license with Laconia because they have moved or no longer have the animal, should notify the city so it can inactivate their account and so that a violation letter is not sent.

Whalley to challenge St. Clair for Dist. 9 seat

LACONIA — Steven Whalley, a local businessman whose brother was a prominent legislator, filed candidacy papers Thursday to run for the state House of Representatives seat left vacant by the resignation of Republican Rep. Robert Fisher.
Whalley, a Republican, owns HK Powersports, which operates in Laconia and Hooksett and sells motorcycles, snowmobiles and other vehicles. His brother was state House Minority Leader Michael Walley, R-Alton, a one-time assistant House Speaker who died in 2008 at age 54 from complications from a fall while he was fighting brain cancer.
Steven Whalley, 62, said he and his brother were among five children.
“We were raised to give something back to the community,” he said.
Fisher represented Belknap District 9, which takes in Laconia and Belmont. He resigned in a scandal over his creation of a website critical of women.
The only other candidate to have filed for the race is Charlie St. Clair, a Democrat. He is a member of the Laconia Planning Board and the executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association.
Whalley said now is a good time to pursue his political interests. Family members help run his business, giving him time and opportunity to serve.
“I'm excited by a new, young, popular governor,” he said. “I'm saddened to see so many young people leaving the state. I want to see if we can keep young people in the state and provide them good jobs.
“I see an aging population. The quality of life is still attracting older people and retirees, but I feel we as a state have to turn it around and make it a popular place for young people to bring their education and their good ideas.”
He also said he is concerned about the opiate crisis, and about the popularity of narcotics that are so potent that first responders face health risks in responding to drug calls.
He is concerned about the rising costs of government.
“I feel strongly we can't keep kicking the can down the road on unfunded liabilities,” he said.
“Just as we may have to adjust Social Security as time goes on, we may have to do the same thing with municipal-type pensions.

“We see very young people retiring. I don't want to say they are taking advantage of the system, but they are using the system to their advantage.”

Funding for the new Community Corrections Center has been a major issue facing the Belknap County Delegation, which has been asked to decide on a supplemental appropriation from the County Commission that would allow the facility to open.
Whalley said he doesn't have a strong position on that issue.
“I've watched it from the outside,” he said. “I assume we have some reasonable people who will come through with reasonable ideas.”
The secretary of state's office in Concord will continue to accept candidacy papers for this race until 5 p.m. Friday. The primary is set for Sept. 12, but if there is only one candidate per party, this would be the date for the general election. If a primary is needed, the general election would be Nov. 7.

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Businessman Steven Whalley, a Republican, files candidacy papers Thursday at the secretary of state's office to run for the New Hampshire House of Representatives. He'll face Democratic challenger Charlie St. Clair, and anyone else who files by the end of the day today. (Courtesy photo)

Riding is ‘way of life’ for Indiana farrier

LACONIA — One of the many motorcycles garnering attention at Weirs Beach yesterday was one owned by Daniel Johnson of Brookville, Indiana, that has a buffalo hide seat, bobcat skull, Native American beads, and other embellishments that identify the places it has been.
Johnson says he soon will have 193,000 miles on the motorcycle, which he has ridden every chance he could in the four years and 11 months he has owned it.
“But that’s nothing,” he said. His previous motorcycle, which he also had for four years and 11 months, had 227,000 miles on it when he was involved in a crash coming out of New Orleans.
Johnson has ridden throughout the United States, including the entire length of Route 66, from Chicago to the Santa Monica pier in California.
“It’s a way of life for me,” he said.
His motorcycle is equipped with everything he needs for long-distance journeys, including a faucet for dispensing water. He has affixed PVC tubes to hold his tools and other items he may need, and he even has a holder for a walking stick.
“It has everything a man needs to survive,” he said.
Johnson said he wears chaps made from deerskin because it is light and waterproof without getting too hot.
But it is the bones, beads, stickers and ornaments on his motorcycle that catch people’s attention wherever he goes, and inspire them to offer their own mementos of each location.
“People from all over the United States — even complete strangers — will invite me into their homes,” Johnson said. “You can’t be out here like I am and treat people badly.”
He said he likes to tell people, “Common courtesy will take you further than money.”
He enjoys letting elderly residents and handicapped children sit on his motorcycle, noting that he always tells the youngsters, “This is what good, honest, hard work will get you.”
A farrier by trade — he is responsible for shoeing and caring for 300 horses — Johnson said he dropped out of high school and joined the Marines, serving from 1973 to 1977. Being in the Marines allowed him to visit three foreign countries when he was 18 years old, he said.
He was injured in the service, and is classified as 40 percent disabled, but that has not stopped him from the difficult trade of a farrier. He said he has been kicked by horses and sustained injuries that included ripping the biceps on his left arm.
Still, his passion is riding, in all locations and in all kinds weather.
He said he has been on a bike since he was 6 and he saved money he earned by baling hay to purchase his first mini-bike at age 12 — a Rupp Roadster that he said he wishes he still had.
He commented on how much he appreciates the beauty of the Lakes Region and the great weather for Motorcycle Week.
He clearly enjoyed the attention his motorcycle was getting, and welcomed opportunities to talk about his journeys.
“Not to detract from any of the beauty of this area,” he said, “but my favorite place to ride is Montana.”

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Daniel Johnson; who has ridden his motorcycle throughout the United States; including the entire length of Route 66; received a lot of attention in The Weirs with his customized 2012 model. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Daniel Johnson, left, speaks with one of the visitors to The Weirs who stopped to admire his motorcycle, decorated with animal skulls, Native American beads, and other mementoes of his journeys around the country. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)