'Tis the season for pet adoption

LACONIA — As local residents begin to plan their holiday shopping missions, a couple of local organizations are asking that they consider picking up a new family member. The week following Thanksgiving is a good time to adopt a pet, according to two local humane societies.

"Life has slowed down a little bit, people are in their routine, it's a good time for the whole family," said Molly King Lounsbury, development assistant at New Hampshire Humane Society in Laconia. Welcoming a dog or cat into a home in early December gives the animal a chance to acquaint itself with its new surroundings and family members before the excitement and turbulence of the holidays arrive.

To make the adoptions more convenient for shoppers, the New Hampshire Humane Society will have a couple dozen dogs and puppies to the Belknap Mall on Nov. 27 for its Black Friday Adopt-a-thon. From 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the society will be offering same-day adoptions, for the fee of $325 for adult dogs, $375 for puppies and $125 for senior dogs. Those hoping to take advantage of the adopt-athon should bring proof of home ownership or a lease agreement that shows that pets are permitted, and vaccination records for other pets in the home. All family members, including other dogs, should come to meet the prospective pet, and adopters must be 21 or older.

King Lounsbury said the trip to the Belknap Mall would be too stressful for cats, so they will be staying at the Humane Society. They have so many of them – more than 100, in fact – that the society will be hosting "Caturday" on the day after Black Friday.

The Lakes Region Humane Society, in Ossipee, also has a cascade of cats.
"We are up to our ears in cats," said Megan Fichter, managing director.
She agreed that the end of November and early December are good times for adoption. She likes to see the animals go to homes before the first of the year so that they don't get stuck at the shelter all winter.

Fichter said the traffic at the shelter slows down in the fall, when summer residents head south and locals turn their attention to school and work. There's a bump in interest immediately after Thanksgiving, which lasts through December.
"If any animals are left here, they're stuck for a couple of months," she said. "January, February, March are about dead here. We want to get as many animals that are here out of here before that lag hits."

For those considering adoption, Fichter suggested starting by researching the websites of local humane societies. If there's interest in a particular animal, Fichter said potential adopters should call first to ensure that the animal is still available and to inquire about the adoption application process. She also suggested that potential adopters decide what type of pet would best fit into the lifestyle that they lead. An energetic puppy is endearing at the shelter, but may be problematic in a sedate home.
"Try and stick to that [mindset], so you and the animal will be happier," she said.

The Franklin Animal Shelter also has animals available for adoption. It's a smaller shelter, only accepting animals from Franklin, either as strays or surrenders. As of Friday, manager Charlotte Rice said there were four dogs, two cats and two kittens available. She agreed that it was better to bring a new animal into a home during the relative calm of early December, yet she wouldn't try and dissuade someone who wanted their children to wake up to find a new pet on Christmas morning. "There's a lot of commotion at Christmas time, but anytime is a good time to adopt. If someone is willing to take in an animal and give it a good home, anytime is great for that."

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Gilford selectmen refuse to intervene for Beans and Greens

GILFORD — The owners of Timber Hill Farm came before the Gilford selectmen Wednesday night to try and clarify the board's position on the existing contracts for agribusiness events already booked for 2016, but the board refused to intervene, leaving the owners unsure of whether they can host events at the farm.
Timber Hill Farm is owned by Andy and Martina Howe, who also own the farm stand Beans and Greens.
Their attorney, Pat Wood, said about seven or eight event bookings were already scheduled before the town issued a cease-and-desist order halting all commercial activity there, which has since been lifted.
Wood was concerned that the Planning Board, which is responsible for reviewing and approving a site plan, is trying to reinvent the entire process and by doing so, subverting the ruling made by the Zoning Board that said the activity was allowed in the zone.
"We want a clear process," Wood said.
Wood told selectmen the Howes are working with the Planning Board on a revised site plan that includes the tent placements as well as the barn.
Selectman Gus Benavides said the selectmen are not going to circumvent the land boards' processes, while Selectman Chan Eddy, who serves as the board's representative to the Planning Board, said he doesn't want the town to make any errors. He said he understands that the abutter filed for a rehearing to the ZBA about the ruling and would, like Benavides, prefer not to act while the land boards are still deliberating.
Attorney Joseph Driscoll was there with his client, who is the trustee of the Sharon Terren Trust. He said he is satisfied with the path taken by selectmen and was only there tell them why the board shouldn't and couldn't intervene.
Driscoll added that his client doesn't want the Howes to host any commercial events there, including those already planned for 2016.

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Bill Clary to retire from LPD

LACONIA — Police Commissioners accepted the retirement notice of Capt. William Clary yesterday in their regularly scheduled meeting.
Clary is a 28-year veteran of the department who spent his entire career in Laconia, rising through the ranks and performing nearly every patrol and detective job within the department. He is the head of the administrative wing and is also the head of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
Police Chief Chris Adams said Clary would be taking a job as an instructor at the Huot Technical Center for the Criminal Justice Program.
"The impact you've had (on the community) will go out even more," said newly elected Commission Chairman Doug Whittum. "The kids are very fortunate to have you go into that program."
Adams also said that one of their patrol officers has taken a job with the Manchester Police Department and that K-9 Officer Mike Armstrong has left the department to pursue a different career path.
Adams said he is committed to the K-9 program, is currently evaluating it, and will seek someone who is capable of taking the position.
He and Clary said they are looking into other agencies who can possible use K-9 Titan. Clary said he has spoken to a few police departments who may be interested in the dog.
Adams said there are 41 uniformed police officers positions, including command staff, within the department, and there are five openings. He also said they are anticipating the retirement of one of their sergeants and are holding internal promotional tests to determine who will next become part of the command staff.
He said the department has contacted 232 people who took and passed the standard written test for police work and invited them to apply for one of the open positions. He said 64 said they would come for the physical test, 29 of them actually came, and 24 of them passed the test.
The next step, said Adams, is the oral interviews and he hopes to get eight or nine acceptable candidates and perform background checks on them.
Before the meeting got underway, commissioners honored 16-year veteran Commissioner Warren Clement who retired this year. Clement said he was proud to have served as commissioner and noted he had served a total of four police chiefs.

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Former sheriff to be arraigned in Manchester

MANCHESTER – A former Belknap County Sheriff's deputy charged with raping a female prisoner he was transporting is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow morning in the Hillsborough North Superior Court.

E. Justin Blanchette, who is being represented by attorney Brad Davis of Franklin, can waive appearing at his arraignment. He is free on personal recognizance bail.

Blanchette is charged with engaging in sexual relations in Bedford with a local woman he was transporting from Belknap County to the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown.

The state asserts that Blanchette had custody over the alleged victim and "used that authority to coerce (her) to submit."

Blanchette was placed on paid administration leave on July 20 and resigned in August.

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