It's been many years since local authorities have known about the poorly-cared-for horses and dogs at 82 Heald St. in Pepperell. According to health board reports, the dogs were running wild and the two horses, enclosed as they were in a pen, were starving.

This week, the board announced that most of the dogs have been removed to a state shelter and the horses were put down. The bank that holds the property has begun the process to regain the title to the urine- and feces-soaked house and promises to restore it to lawful and healthful condition.

The reasons for the years-long delay in resolving this matter are hard to come by. We can only say that governmental institutions that have health, animal or humane in their names should find other occupations.

The owner of these horses, in particular, should not have been allowed to just let them die.

At the State House, the Transportation Committee held a hearing on a bill that would reduce from five minutes to two minutes the amount of time drivers are allowed to idle their car (S 1636). Supporters said that the proposal would help protect the environment. It would also help our gas costs. But we wonder -- idle where? Unless traffic jams and roadwork are to cease, even the five-minute rule won't hold.

Another bill would require the Registry of Motor Vehicles to provide a translator in one of 48 languages for all non-English speaking applicants for a learner's permit (H 3052).

How about a requirement that all residents learn English before applying for a license so they can read the signs on the roads they are driving.