Monday, March 21, 2016

Middletown Animal Control Out of Control, and Sgt. Mazzotta a Liar

On Sunday, March 13, the dogs started barking at about 8:00 AM, barking occasionally during the morning, during which time there was a brief dog fight.  I left around noon and returned at 2:20 PM.  At least one dog, a white husky which I could clearly see through the bare trees behind the neighbor's house, was barking.  The barking continued for about 1 hr. 45 min, until approx. 4:05 PM.  I called Animal Control Officer Gail Petras around 3:00 and left a message stating I wanted to file a written complaint about the barking dogs, and asked her to contact me.  (No matter what time you call, there is never anyone there to answer the phone.)

On Monday March 14, ACO Petras did not return my call.   At 6:00 PM that day, I observed an officer get into his cruiser, which was parked across from the neighbor's house.  The officer then pulled down to the house next to mine and parked vehicle.  A moment later, that neighbor pulled into his driveway.  The officer then got out of his vehicle and walked up the drive.  At 6:10, while sitting at my desk, I saw the cruiser driving away.

At 9:30 that evening, I was awakened by knocking on my door.  By the time I woke up enough to get dressed and make it to the window, I saw a cruiser pulling away from the curb.

On Tuesday morning, March 15, I left another message for ACO Petras but still did not hear from her. 

From 7:00 PM until 7:15 PM that evening, the dogs were again barking, this time primarily the Rottweiler, which I could see through the trees and audio RECORDED.  About a minute after the barking stopped, a cat came out of the brush at 603 and ran across the street and up my driveway.  That is what the dogs were barking at.

On Wednesday morning, March16, I found a voicemail message from Sgt. Mazzotta (left on Tues. at 4:47 PM) in which he said he was by my house on the 14th at 6:15 and again at 9:30, to follow up on my complaint to Animal Control, about the barking dogs.  I returned the call and left a message, but did not heard back from him.

(Sgt. Mazzotta is ACO Petras' supervisor, though how one can adequately supervise someone who is not even on the same shift is beyond me.)

On Thursday, March 17, I left Mazzotta a message at 5:37 PM.  I did not hear back from him.

On Friday, March 18, I left another message for Sgt. Mazzotta, who was not on duty that day.

On Monday, March 21, after still getting no response from Sgt. Mazzotta, I spoke with the neighbor whom he visited last Monday.  He told me that Mazzotta left his house, went to the house across the street from mine, and then drove away.  (I also spoke with that neighbor who told me he had a Rottweiler in his driveway, today.)  Sgt. Mazzotta was asking some of the neighbors if they heard dogs barking, the day before.  Why is a sergeant investigating a dog barking complaint, and not the ACO?

As stated above, at 6:15 on Monday I was sitting at my desk and did not hear anyone knock on my door.  I did, however, observe a cruiser drive away, 5 minutes prior to that.  At 9:30 I was in bed asleep; every light in the house was off.  The officer pounded on the door hard enough to wake me in a room on the second floor, on the opposite corner of the house.

Obviously, Mazzotta lied about being at my house at 6:15.  I was home at the time, and the neighbor and I both observed Mazzotta drive away, without stopping at my house.  Now, the question begs to be asked; "Why would Mazzotta not knock on my door at 6:10, when he was in the neighborhood, but wait until 9:30, when I'm in bed, with the house totally dark, before coming back and then knocking on the door?  And, why would he lie about it?

Maybe the answer can be found in the post, "Complaints to Animal Control Leave Neighbor Barking up Wrong Tree".  In this post, I outline the months of complaints to Animal Control, which were totally ignored.  In that post, I also describe the attempt by Sgt. Mazzotta to intimidate me into shutting up.  (It didn't work.)

Clearly, there are problems within the Middletown police department.  There is an ACO who is unresponsive and ineffective; and a sergeant who seems to view the public with contempt and thinks he and his charges are above accountability.

Moral of the story:  Don't bother to complain.  It does no good and you will be labeled a "trouble maker" for it.  You might even become a target, yourself.

Note:  On the morning this article was posted, I got a call from Mazzotta.  We discussed city ordinance Chapter 206 Noise Art. II Sec. 206-2, 206-3 and 206-4.  When asked why he was talking to the the neighbors, he said he needed to conduct an investigation prior to obtaining a warrant.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but since when is it necessary to get a warrant in order to issue a citation for an infraction?  Isn't that another lie?

§ 206-16 Penalties for offenses.
Any owner, occupant, operator or agent of a noise source who has received a notice to correct a violation of this article and who has failed to correct such violation by the date specified in such notice shall be punished by a fine of not less than $20 nor more than $100. Each day and each night that such violation shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
No penalty shall be due while a reconsideration, hearing or appeal is pending in the matter.
The imposition of any fine hereunder shall not prevent the enforced abatement of any unlawful condition by the City.


  1. Perhaps the owners of the barking dogs know someone at PD and that is why your complaints are being ignored?

    1. I don't think that is the case. I think it more likely that there are personal relationships involved.

  2. I just got off the phone with Sgt. Mazzotta. He said he is just now getting around to returning calls, since he was away. (why he didn't call Wed or Thurs, I don't know)

    He said he was out last Monday canvassing the neighborhood looking for people to back up my complaint. He spoke to three people, one across, and two to the south. None to the north.

    He says he will look into it to see what, if anything, can be done. He says it's tough because no one else is complaining. But, my property is situated in relation to where the dogs are, such that the sound is channeled up a ravine between two houses, then up my driveway and into my house, windows open or not. The sound is effectively amplified by this phenomenon.

    It shouldn't matter that one person is complaining. City Ordinance Sec. 206 uses the word, "person". There is no requirement that there be more than one complainant before action is taken. Sec 206-4 states, "Nothing in any portion of this article shall in any manner be construed as authorizing or legalizing the creation or maintenance of a nuisance, and compliance of a source with this article is not a bar to a claim of nuisance by any person."

    Sec. 206-2 says, “. . . the people of the City of Middletown have a right to and should be ensured an environment free from excessive sound that may . . . degrade the quality of life.”

    I want my rights upheld and the quality of my life restored.

  3. Where is the ZEO on this? People can't run a rescue out of their homes. Thus is a zoning violation.

  4. I have had similar issues. Complaining about barking dogs all hours of the night, and then finally get a follow up call a week later only to realize that the barking dogs are coming from the officers relatives. So nothing gets done except my family having to listen to barking dogs all hours of the night, every night!!! I think next time the dogs bark at 3am, I will knock on there door, I am sure cops will show up then, but I be arrested for trespassing and breach of peace. Nevermind, that my rights to a quality of life have been violated daily.

  5. Anonymous at 4:35 PM - I take it you are the only one complaining, too. People don't complain because we have become passive and because complaining far too often falls on deaf ears or brings worse and further troubles.

    A relative or not, keep a log of the time, date and duration of the barking and get videos, if you can. Upload them to You Tube. Take it into the station and make a formal complaint.

    Yes, it is a quality of life issue.


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