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TOWN TO REVISE PROPOSED DOG CONTROL ORDINANCE

The Orchard Park Town Board still hopes to have a dog control law in effect by the start of next year, but this time with the help of dog owners.

The board has started assembling a committee to revise its original proposal, which drew a pack of dog-owning opponents to a meeting May 21. The ordinance's opponents, including several breeders of purebred dogs, objected in particular to its three-dog limit in residential areas.

Town Supervisor Toni Cudney said she would work with Dog Control Officer Dennis Buczkowski, dog breeder Peggy Doster and dog owner George Herbert. A fifth member, expected to be a veterinarian, is expected to be named when the committee officially is appointed at Wednesday's board meeting.

"I expect that we can resolve a lot of the concerns in one meeting with the committee," Cudney said. "Those people made a very good point (at the meeting). We probably have 35 breeders who are licensed in Orchard Park, and I've never had a complaint about any of them."

"We'll try to work come up with language that will be satisfactory to responsible dog owners in Orchard Park," Herbert said. "The real issue that came out is the proposed three-dog limitation seemed unreasonable, particularly for some individuals who live out on the fringes of the town and have acres around them."

Herbert owns two German shepherds, including a therapy dog that he takes into nursing homes.

"The ultimate goal is to have something in place by the first of next year," he said. "We've been very pleased with the receptiveness of the Town Board. We've heard of places where they've said, 'If you don't like this, leave.' "

In an executive session Wednesday night, the Town Board met with Richard Jablonski and Richard Fin-ster, two School Board representatives, on the availability of the Orchard Park Central Schools' Murphy Road property.

"Basically they were there to give us some details on the acreage," Councilman David Buyer said. "Their interest was whether we have interest.

"We haven't discussed among the board whether we do. We need to discuss what recreational needs we have left and where, or if, this fits into things. It's not something that's going to be a quick decision."

The Orchard Park School Board wants to sell at least part of the 134-acre parcel that the district bought for $1.2 million from the Sisters of Mercy after a referendum in 2001.

District officials originally said the property was intended for "future growth," but later proposed it as the site of a new high school in a $90 million building plan.

Voters rejected the plan by a 6-1 ratio last year, and the newly elected board majority has favored putting the property, which includes a 66,000-square-foot former convent, up for sale.

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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