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Dunedin woman ordered to get rid of dogs

Neighbors at one time kept a Web site condemning the dogs that they say have terrorized the neighborhood.

In a ruling some Chicago Avenue residents say is long overdue, a judge Monday decided Susan Kennedy must get rid of her dogs _ and prohibited her from ever keeping any more of the pets on her property.

"It's been four long years," said Tony Stonehouse, who said her dogs killed his kitten, Squeaks, in May. "It couldn't come fast enough."

For several years, neighbors on this brick-paved street have complained that her chow-and-huskie-mix dogs have terrorized the neighborhood. The Sheriff's Office has cited Kennedy repeatedly for letting her dogs run loose. She had 10 dogs as recently as June, when the city sued her, asking the courts to force her to keep her pets contained.

Monday's ruling by Judge James Case came after months of legal wrangling between the city and Kennedy, who must pay the city's $16,000 attorney fees. She has 30 days to get rid of her dogs, according to the court order. City Attorney John Hubbard said the issue should now be put to rest.

"Finally, the neighborhood is free of this threat," Hubbard said. "The courts gave Mrs. Kennedy every reasonable opportunity to behave as other responsible people are willing to behave. She refused to do that."

The dispute between Kennedy and her neighbors has gotten ugly at times. For a while, neighbors had a Web site condemning her dogs. Twice, fights between Kennedy and a neighbor, Dave Brummitt, have resulted in criminal charges being filed against Kennedy. Other neighbors have said they want to buy guns to kill her dogs. Kennedy has found threatening notes on her front gate in the past.

Kennedy lives with the dogs in a yellow house behind a 6-foot stockade fence and has always contended her pets have never hurt anyone. She could not be reached for comment Monday.

Brummitt said he called the FBI around New Year's because he and neighbors were fearful she or her friends might retaliate against them.

"We're hoping she just moves out," Brummitt said. "All the neighbors are tired of it. It's been Chicago Avenue, Lyndhurst (Street), Louden (Avenue). It's been a problem ever since she moved here."

On July 1, the courts ordered Kennedy to keep her dogs contained. When some of her dogs escaped shortly after, the Sheriff's Office and the Humane Society confiscated all 10.

In August, the courts decided Kennedy could have only three dogs, and she was again told to keep them in the house, in an escape-proof kennel or on a leash.

Kennedy retrieved three of her dogs from the Humane Society on State Road 590. Three others were put to sleep for aggressive behavior, four were adopted and seven puppies born at the shelter were also adopted, said Rick Chaboudy, the Humane Society director.

Monday, Chaboudy said the shelter did not have her dogs, and a neighbor said Kennedy had them at home with her.

On Dec. 24, one of her dogs got loose again, said Boe Rushing, a lawyer in Hubbard's office. Sheriff's Deputy Jim Wilson, who has been working on the case, saw the dog running around the area, Rushing said. That incident precipitated Monday's hearing, which Kennedy attended.

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