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|03-17-2009, 07:51 AM||#1|
Donating YT 4000 Club Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
[News] Penn. is at again - 3 illegal breeding operations now given approval
East Earl Township gives OK to 3 kennels
All dog breeding facilities in operation for years
LancasterOnline.com:News:East Earl Township gives OK to 3 kennels
Two members of East Earl Township zoning hearing board struck a forgiving tone Monday night.
Board members gave their OK for three large-scale breeding kennels to operate in the township — after the kennels had been operating illegally for years.
The kennel operators could have been cited and fined for operating businesses without township approval. And had they not gotten approval Monday, they could have been forced to dismantle their operations. Board members also could have taken 45 days to make their decisions.
Instead, the board, short one member Monday, granted approvals for all three commercial breeding kennels after a few minutes of closed-door deliberations between new member Valerie Gregory and Chairman William Fisher.
Later, township zoning officer Shaun A. Seymour, who recommended approval for all three kennels, pounded his fists on a table and raised his voice when board members were questioned by a reporter about the appearance of inconsistencies in township zoning enforcement.
Asked why the kennel operators were granted approval Monday when they were violating township ordinances for years, Fisher told the reporter his interest is keeping East Earl Township an agricultural community.
"This is an ag community, and I hope it stays an ag community," Fisher said. "Not all businesses get approval, either. They're required to have it, but they don't all get it."
Gregory defended her decisions, saying many people operate illegal businesses in the township, including tailors and Avon and Pampered Chef sales representatives.
"Unless we inspect them all, every house, you'd never know they're there," she said.
Even while requesting the board's approval, kennel operator Irvin H. Zimmerman balked at the township's requirement that dogs be indoors between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. When township solicitor Robert E. Sisco told Zimmerman that the floor was his to convince the board he should be allowed to operate a kennel, Zimmerman said he might not always be able to comply.
"In some circumstances, that might not be possible," Zimmerman said. "I'll try to do that, but things could happen that it would almost be impossible. I hope that's good enough."
After the meeting, when Fisher was asked by a reporter why he approved Zimmerman's request even though Zimmerman admitted he may not always succeed in complying with the township ordinance, zoning officer Seymour interrupted, pounded his fists on the table and yelled at the reporter, "Do you get to work every morning on time? Speak!"
Zimmerman's kennel, Sandy Slope Kennel, is permitted to house 251 or more dogs at 769 Red Run Road. Also approved for operation Monday were Ivan Ray Weaver's kennel at 914 Centerville Road, which is licensed to house 101 to 150 dogs; and Thomas Martin's kennel, Wide Hollow Kennel, 528 Reading Road, which is licensed to house 51 to 100 dogs.
Township resident Steve Wlodarczyk told the board he opposes all three kennel approvals because the operators have shown they lack integrity by illegally operating for years without the required approval.
Another township resident, Dave Holroyd, also said he opposed the kennels because of the nature of commercial dog breeding. Holroyd was especially critical of Weaver, who admitted to the board that he had operated his kennel illegally since 1994.
"I strongly object to having this kennel in my township," Holroyd said.
Other township residents spoke on behalf of the businesses.
"I have no problem with his dogs," resident Leonard Zimmerman said of Weaver's kennel. "I recommend that he gets his approval."
Fisher said the township was notified by the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement that the kennels were operating without municipal approval, which is what prompted the kennel operators to seek the board's OK to operate after the fact.
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