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New Hope Borough Council Appoints Dan Dougherty Member; Okays Dog Ordinance

New Hope Borough Council Member Dan Dougherty.

Tuesday night’s meeting of New Hope Borough Council saw the appointment of a new member to their ranks, and the long-awaited passage of an amendment to the borough’s dog control code.

Early on in the evening, council voted to appoint Dan J. Dougherty of West Ferry Street to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Member and President Bill Scandone. Scandone has remained resigned since Feb. 13.

Dougherty had been a contender last fall to fill the vacancy caused by Council Member Cliff Montgomery’s resignation effective Oct. 1, 2016, but borough council appointed favorite son Joe Franlin instead at the time.

Any resident of the borough may apply for a vacant council position, although council has the power to appoint whomever they please, and do.

Dougherty graduated Temple University in 1994 with a degree in actuarial studies, and retired after serving in human resources at Independence Blue Cross.

“While I am a relatively recent addition to New Hope, I feel my background in finance and human resources would allow me to make an immediate contribution by assisting my fellow council members and the council president in the evaluation of contracts, budgets and planning,” said Dougherty last fall. “I’m also very interested and excited to serve on the various committees that focus on improving the quality of life for our residents and businesses.”

Borough council also heard commentary and considered a proposed amendment to the borough’s dog control code. Calls for stronger regulation of dog ownership began at a New Hope Borough Council meeting in August 2015, where Riverwoods residents Keith and Denice Horlacher recounted the horror of seeing their pet Maltese killed by a large off-leash dog some two weeks earlier.

(L to R) Council Members Ken Maisel, Laurie McHugh, and Borough Manager Cathie Thomas.

An expansive new dog law governing canine ownership and control in the borough was shot down at a council meeting on April 19, 2016, because it sought to define and regulate “socialization” of dogs in the borough, a highly subjective and seemingly unenforceable requirement.

The latest set of tightened canine ownership guidelines did not include the controversial socialization section, but prohibited tethering of dogs outside a shop or restaurant while one runs inside to quickly purchase an item like a cup of coffee, and limited the length of any dog leash to six feet. The last part was stricken down, and the ordinance passed.

Whether the new law can help keep dogs and their owners from being attacked by canines owned by irresponsible humans remains to be seen. Keith Horlacher has devoted much effort to the new law, and one hopes the amendment’s passage will help bring comfort to he and his wife, who have tried to turn their terrible experience into positive action, as have Dennis Manoogian, Jennifer Lata, Erin Broad, and many others.

Meanwhile, credit is due to all those who worked for so long to improve local dog ordinances, including Council Member Laurie McHugh.






About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • while I know that dogs off the leash anywhere in the New Hope Borough is illegal( $300 fine if enforced) is it also illegal to walk your dog on school grounds on a leash which is no longer that 6 feet during non school hours?

  • Pink begins to make a good cogent point and then as usual flails off into nonsense. This attempt at regulating murderous dogs is a joke. Just make the financial penalty very high for a dog that harms a person or other dog. Very high. And enforce it. That will solve the problem.

    • So Don Barbara, you think a very high penalty will bring closure towards the grief experienced by the dead dog owners. I don’t follow that logic. Not only does that not make any sense, it won’t deter the actions of any dog before or after the fact. Personally don’t know any local dog owners who want their dogs to kill other dogs. So go flail off yourself.

      • No….try to pay attention.. a high penalty has nothing to do with what you call “closure”. It’s about preventing future attacks. And the owners of the dog are not dead, as your post suggests. And as usual the latter part of your post is inscrutable nonsense

        • Ok, Memet Stern, does the death penalty prevent murders? Will a fine prevent a dog from attacking and killing another dog? Who is being punished? All dog ownership has liabilities. Risks are taken every day with dog ownership. Most people are very responsible with their dogs, at home and in the public. But I think it does take a certain level of experience and maturity to take on dog ownership and do it well. Some are novices, some don’t understand or can’t accept their dog’s temperament. Dogs are not extensions of their owners mental wellness or illness. Most dog owners want their dogs to be good neighbors and good human friends. Some dogs need help getting there, just like humans with other humans. Fining our way out of problems is not the right approach. Sadly, dog on dog attacks do happen. And it could be the most devastating event that one may go through in their life time. I think restorative justice is the answer, not vengeance.

          • OK you say restorative justice, I say prevention.
            Although restorative justice, as nice and civilized as it sounds, can’t bring back a dead Maltese, heal the scars of a mauled kid…or worse.

  • I have not read the new dog ordinance. But I wonder how banning the short time tethering of dogs to a store front is addressing whatever the issue was to begin with…the so called “off leash” dog attack wasn’t really that. That dog escaped! It wasn’t being walked off leash. There is a difference. So will the borough be posting signs throughout the town informing all visitors about this rule and will there be a fine? Will the SPCA be called?
    Have there been other deadly dog on dog attacks in NH since that one incident?
    How about banning all tethering of dogs in the borough no matter where and for how long?

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