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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 6, 2009

Black dog returns, inspires Democrats to post reward

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — In the third week of June, a cutout of a black dog mysteriously appeared on Peter Golden’s lawn, shortly after he announced that he was considering running for town supervisor with Republican endorsement.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, two more black dogs made appearances, and Golden told The Enterprise that this time, he knows the prank was directed at him, and not just a random act.

Last time, the Democratic chairman said calling the act political was ridiculous. This time, the Democrats are putting up a $350 reward to find the culprit.

Golden said he heard a car go down his street around midnight, and looked out the window, curious, because traffic at that time of night is rare.

“I looked out and a guy had his head poked out the window, and he said ‘You missed his f--king house,’” said Golden. A few minutes later, his doorbell rang, and Golden said he got to the door too late to see who had rung it, but he did see two black dog cutouts on his lawn.

The cutouts were the same type as the one that appeared on his lawn in June. Golden filed a police report again; this time Guilderland officers took pictures at the scene, in addition to dusting for fingerprints on the dog silhouettes and the doorbell.

A similar procedure was followed in June, but, according to Captain Curtis Cox of the Guilderland Police Department, nothing came of that investigation. There were no leads, and no indication of whether it was politically motivated, Cox said.

“As of now, it is impossible to determine if the same person is responsible for the two acts,” said Cox.

“This is the same petty cruelty that has been going on since 1997,” said Golden, referring to the brick thrown through Republican Ed Downey’s window, as he made a run for councilman. Golden said he has no doubt that the recent vandalism is politically linked, and meant to be a distraction from the real issues at hand.

The chairman of the Republican Committee, Ted Danz, also thinks the act was politically motivated. He said there were several potential candidates for supervisor, but they were hesitant to run because they were worried about their families; incidents such as this one prove that they were right to be concerned, he said.

“To be honest, I don’t think Supervisor Runion’s behind this. I think he has more integrity than that,” said Danz, of the Democratic incumbent whom Golden is running against. “I do think it’s the Democrats though. They have a loose canon somewhere, and they have to get rid of it,” he said.

Runion said this week he does not think the act is part of a dirty campaign, and is more than likely just a prank.

“Still, it is a terrible thing to have to go through something like that,” Runion said. In light of that, Runion said he notified the police department that he will be offering a $250 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the incident. Donald Csaposs, grant writer for the town, who has been active in past Democratic campaigns, kicked in another $100, bringing the reward up to $350.

Golden said his wife was frightened after the doorbell rang, because it’s never anything good when your doorbell rings in the middle of the night.

“I won’t stop standing up for the issues,” Golden said. “No matter how many dogs they put on my lawn, there will still be traffic on Western Avenue, and the taxes are still high.”

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