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May 2, 2013

Letter: Rockport must heed concerns over horses

To the editor:

We attended the Rockport Board of Health meeting held on Tuesday, April 23, in which there were discussions about the construction of a stable to house two horses on Mary Helen Way.

During the meeting, a number of neighbors/abutters expressed concerns about smell, flies, noise and contamination from runoff. Their concerns are valid.

For the past six years, we have been forced to endure the stench, flies and noise from our neighbor’s two ponies. It smells every day.

In the summer it escalates to a stench. You can actually distinguish between the smell of feces and urine. We understand that, by law, manure has to be picked up within eight hours. That means when our neighbors leave to go out in their boat on the weekends at 10 a.m. and return at 6 p.m., the feces and urine have baked in the hot sun, permeating the ground attracting swarms of flies. In addition, manure can be stored in containers for we believe up to 8 days and brought to the land fill to be dumped. Do you know what eight-day-old manure smells like?

We cannot enjoy our yard or deck not only due to the stench, but to the flies as well. The flies bite our ankles, buzz around our heads, and land on our food forcing us inside. Our screens are covered with them.

We have complained to the Board of Health about the flies. Our neighbors have told the Board of Health they use an environmentally safe spray and have introduced parasites to suppress the fly problem. But it does not work. The spray is heavily scented pine and is an irritant to eyes and throat.

The ponies are noisy, especially when one is taken out of the pen and off the property. The remaining pony neighs incessantly until its pal returns. What is even more irritating is the mucking out of the stalls. On mornings we are awakened, usually around 6 a.m., by the sound of the shovel scraping the cement floor of the stalls. Within 30 seconds, the smell hits you.

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