A request from the Paws Along The River Humane Society spurred discussion about possible changes to the county zoning ordinance regarding dog kennels.
Zoning Officer Aaron Kalkbrenner said he received a letter from the Humane Society regarding a special exception that was granted to an individual for a kennel.
“We didn’t have any other standards for him to adhere to,” he said, noting the issue “became quite a hassle.”
Kalkbrenner said the Humane Society has removed the animals and that the owner is facing animal cruelty charges.
The Warren County Planning Commission discussed the proposal during its meeting Tuesday evening.
Kalkbrenner said that the current regulations are “pretty straightforward” and, for example, include a minimum lot size of two acres, a requirement that the kennel is soundproof as well as a cap on the number of dogs permissible.
In consultation with the Humane Society, Kalkbrenner said that one way the ordinance could be strengthened to possibly avoid Humane Society intervention is to require kennel owners to obtain a license from the state to operate a kennel, which would include an annual inspection.
“Right now, that’s not one of our regulations. It was quite a horrific location,” he said of the situation in question. “The state doesn’t say that they have to have a kennel license if they are just going to operate for personal use. (This) guy wanted a kennel to have 10 dogs for a dog sled team.”
County Planner Dan Glotz said that the problem they would run into is that someone could come to the hearing for the kennel special exception and never follow through on what they say they will do.
“It’s an isolated case,” Glotz said. “The Humane Society actually removed all the animals. What (Humane Society Director) Karen (Kolos) is looking for is some way to hold them accountable.”
Kalkbrenner said that the ordinance currently defines a kennel as four or more dogs, 10 weeks of age or older, that are raised, bred, trained or boarded.
“It doesn’t sound like this is an area we need to get into,” said commission member Cindy Paulmier, noting that she knows people who have four or more dogs as pets.
Commission member Gary Olson said he was open to reviewing potential language for a change but questioned situations when the dogs are indoor family pets.
“Ten dogs sounds like a kennel to me,” commission member Paul Pascuzzi said.
“We’re being asked to create an ordinance that empowers someone else to come in and inspect,” commission member Jeff Zariczny added.
While the commission tabled action, Pascuzzi asked Glotz and Kalkbrenner to consult ordinances of other counties similar in size to Warren County to see what they do.