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OH NO - THEY HAVE ARRIVED


debp
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Email forwarded to me to alert regarding a public hearing in my county. I intend to go and would like to speak to this but would like to have some information on possible ramifications (besides the obvious - I have 7 dogs and 4 cats!). Suggestions? Click on the public hearing notice that was posted in Winchester (Clarke County paper went out of business this year). I doubt many in our county know about this.....sound like a HSUS initiative?

 

 

"URGENT--ANIMAL OWNERS UNDER ATTACK IN CLARKE COUNTY VIRGINIA

On 2 April 2010, a public hearing on a new ordinance for Clarke County dog and cat owners will be held. The ordinance includes severe restrictions on dog and cat ownership. Items in the proposal include:

 

that dog/cats are now called companion animals

that boarding kennels and breeding kennels are now one and the same

that anyone with 5 or more dogs is classified as a boarding/breeding kennel and must obtain a business license to operate

that home boarding/breeding kennels (now someone who has 5 or more dogs and a litter) must obtain a home business license.

 

 

To read the public hearing notice that appeared in the Winchester Star (a newspaper in a neighboring county), click here.

http://www.shawneekennelclub.net/public.pdf

"

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My first question would be whether the "AOC" and "FOC" zoning districts include the area where you live? I found the notice to be a bit difficult to understand, to say the least. I probably would go to someone in the county or a lawyer familiar with county regulations to have the proposed changes described to me in legal terms so I'd have a real idea of what it means for me. Once I had done that, then I'd feel more capable of representing my interests before the board/commission.

 

J.

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You may want to determine as to if there is a state Pet Breeders Association that has a lobbying group. If so, check in with them to determine their position, if they are award of the public hearing and how they are working to combat the new laws coming down in and around the state.

 

What you don't want to do is undermine their position without knowing it, there is a divide and conqure going on trying to seperated the pet owners and the breeders. Granted you may not agree with the big business pet breeders but when it's all said and done the numbers and money to try to prevent some of these new laws from coming to be, agriculture is also joining in on the side of the pet breeders. I fear that each pet owner that comes down on the opposite side of the pet breeders and agriculture, even on one little point, is one more that comes down on the side of HSUS.

 

Also, get your hands on the actual proposal with any changes so that you can get a handle as to what is really going on and what the ramnification are. often times what is distributed by the media is not accurate, they may have a clause stipulating that numbers are based on unaltered dogs in the actual proposal, maybe not if they are trying to get a numbers ban through in your area. The arguement may be that by requiring licensing of people that have more then the average number of pets they can inspect to insure no hoarding or neglect is going on, sounds great to most pet owners and many will support the argument.

 

Here in Iowa the IaFed which is the lobbying group were able to negotiate compromises. I have not gone over to their website to see if they have published the spreadsheet that was distributed at the meeting, it outlined each law that was being effected, what HSUS and company wanted and what IaFed was able to get passes along with their opionion as to why it was important or unimportant.

 

Unfortunately, HSUS and company has had some success on a state level in some areas, case in point, here in Iowa and will probably use those successes as a means to make their arguement convincing.

 

I guess the best advice I have is to get as much accurate information as you can before the hearing. I've not read the PDF yet, still waiting for it to load, dang dial up...

 

Good luck...

 

Deb

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Hi Deb,

 

Good idea to attend the meeting and speak. To be effective, you should get hold of a copy of the actual text of the proposed amendments ahead of time, so you can know exactly what effect they would have, and can be focused and specific in your comments. You should call the Clarke County Planning Offices to ask how you can get a copy. You might want to ask if the text of the proposed amendments is available online, since that would make it easier for us all to see it.

 

The current zoning ordinance can be found online here.

 

These are the kennel definitions that they propose to amend:

 

KENNEL: A place designed prepared to house, board, breed, handle or otherwise keep or care for dogs and cats for sale or in return for compensation. A Kennel shall be allowed only as an accessory use to a Single Family Detached Dwelling and shall be located not more than 200 feet from such a dwelling.

 

KENNEL, Commercial Boarding

A place designed or prepared to house, board, handle or otherwise keep or care for canine and/or feline animals in return for compensation. A Commercial Boarding Kennel shall be allowed only as an accessory use to a Single Family Detached Dwelling and shall be located not more than 200 feet from such a dwelling.

 

Kennel, Commercial Breeding

A place designed or prepared to house or handle more than 20 canine animals for the purpose of breeding for sale in return for compensation. A Commercial Breeding Kennel shall be allowed only as an accessory use to a Single Family Detached Dwelling and shall be located not more than 200 feet from such a dwelling. *(See Animal Shelter)

 

As I read them, you would probably not be affected, since presumably you don't keep a kennel "to house or handle more than [5 companion animals] for the purpose of breeding for sale in return for compensation." [bracketed material is how it would read if the amendment passed.] But I would not feel comfortable drawing this conclusion until you had a chance to see the actual text of the proposed amendments. And in any event you might want to speak in favor of a higher number than 5, which seems unreasonably low, even if you would not be directly affected.

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What you don't want to do is undermine their position without knowing it, there is a divide and conqure going on trying to seperated the pet owners and the breeders. Granted you may not agree with the big business pet breeders but when it's all said and done the numbers and money to try to prevent some of these new laws from coming to be, agriculture is also joining in on the side of the pet breeders. I fear that each pet owner that comes down on the opposite side of the pet breeders and agriculture, even on one little point, is one more that comes down on the side of HSUS.

 

I gotta say I totally disagree with this. I would never oppose an initiative to set reasonable limits on the number of breeding animals one could keep, or reasonable conditions in which the animals in large breeding operations had to be kept, or the like. I don't want to be on the side of animal cruelty just to avoid being "on the side of HSUS."

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Thanks all - I haven't kept up with all the changes going on around us and now I'm afraid changes may blind side us just because we didn't speak up. The county is highly agricultural and fights hard to keep that culture alive. However, there are always people coming into the county who want changes and worry about all the farm animals they see in their neighbors fields. Heck, I was them 7 years ago. I could see a bunch of townies showing up and agreeing to more policing of dog and cat ownership. Bottom line - I don't want someone insisting on coming into my home because I have more than 5 dogs/cats. Where does the far reaching regulations stop? Oh - I can't have the cat bowls on the counter where I eat? It's inhumane to crate my dogs? I must have a litter box for every 2 cats? Ugh. I'm not freaking out, but I can see a slippery slope that I dont' want them to go down.....(I see that Debbie Crowder is going through another "inspection" of her kennel.)

I'll go armed with information (ugh - sounds kind of Sarah P'ish)

 

deb

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I gotta say I totally disagree with this. I would never oppose an initiative to set reasonable limits on the number of breeding animals one could keep, or reasonable conditions in which the animals in large breeding operations had to be kept, or the like. I don't want to be on the side of animal cruelty just to avoid being "on the side of HSUS."

 

It wouldn't be so bad if it was just about the care and well being of the animals. Some of the new bills and proposals are about making harrassment legal, making it difficult and unreasonably expensive to enjoy the life that you choose (the collective "you"). Setting the laws up so that if a person does not agree with your lifestyle that they have a legal means to gain enterance and to find an issue and get you to stop doing what they are uncomfortable with.

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Things I would want clarified include:

 

Is a kennel a separate structure detached from the house?

Does this affect dogs housed in a "Single Family Detached Dwelling"?

Must the compensation that triggers this be from animals born on this property or will it also apply to animals I may resell?

Will use zoning allow for establishing a home business or will this change force people to get ride of animals they already own? (Some areas will not allow "kennels" but owning more than x animals requires a kennel license.)

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Here is a link to the Text Amendments for anyone interested;

http://www.clarkecounty.gov/government/pub...04-02-2010.html

 

Eileen is correct - the changes won't affect me as I don't breed/sell. It appears that those who do have a kennel and receive compensation will be affected as the change will state that such use has a need for a Business license and also a further change in the setback regulations for that use. The county did suggest that I buy a kennel license last year because it was cheaper to license my dogs that way (Kennel price was cheaper than individual licenses. I may rethink that after Friday's meeting :rolleyes:

 

In reading the zoning laws online just now, I started thinking about how this would affect anyone who wants to hold a sheepdog trial in the county as there are regulations that may affect that. I was thinking about recommending the Clarke County Fairgrounds to the VBCA as a possible venue. There is a growing Fiber Festival that would be a great weekend to hold a sheepdog trial in conjunction with. Okay - off subject/track. Thanks all for giving me feedback and I feel better with more knowledge.

 

I'm still going to see what prompted this change. I'll report back.

 

Oh - It appears that Clarke County is either AOC (Agricultral-Open Space-Conservation District) or FOC (Forestal-Open Space-Conservation District). We're in AOC zone.

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I don't know if it would effect you, but finding out what businesses need to secure a Commerical Kennel License may be of interest.

 

This is our deal here in the state of Iowa in regards to Commercial Kennel Licenses:

License to operate a commercial kennel. Allows bearer to perform grooming, boarding, or training services for dogs or cats in return for compensation.

 

A friend of ours offers agility lessons at her home, she had to secure and Commercial Kennel license even though she only owned three dogs and they were all altered. The inspector could inspect anything that pertained to the lessons and the places that students and dogs have access to.

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It wouldn't be so bad if it was just about the care and well being of the animals. Some of the new bills and proposals are about making harrassment legal, making it difficult and unreasonably expensive to enjoy the life that you choose (the collective "you"). Setting the laws up so that if a person does not agree with your lifestyle that they have a legal means to gain enterance and to find an issue and get you to stop doing what they are uncomfortable with.

That's the part of this that worries me, too. Our animal control officers are just jerks for the sake of being jerks. You couple that with some neighbor who just likes to cause trouble or who hates dogs or whatever and you have a bad situation.

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Fauquier County changed their rules sometime in the recent past. They used to have a x acres allows x number of domestic animals. Since I recently adopted a 5th dog I decided to review our current regulations a couple weeks ago.

 

Even though all my dogs are altered and I do not breed or sell any animals, I will still be required to get a kennel license because of I have more than 4 dogs. Supposedly the process is painless but I still hate having to even register my dogs with the county. I have avoided it but since in VA, the vets office is required to send to the county where you live rabies vaccination information I don't have a choice now.

 

All my dogs live in the house and are rarely even left outside for more than a few minutes alone even though I have a fenced back yard and live on an acre.

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oh gawd - the NRA? I don't want to be lumped in with anti-govt, "the black helicopters are coming!" fanatics. I just think we need to be careful about over regulating and I want to know what is prompting this proposed change.

*we own guns so please don't beat me up about my NRA sentiments.....

 

Should be an interesting meeting......

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Thanks for the link Debbie - it was interesting to read their (NRA) take on this change. I guess it could potentially affect more than just those in my little world. :rolleyes:

 

 

No problem, different views bring in different opinions and different persepctives. I know I seem all tin foil and black helicopters to some, but when dealing with licensing and restrictions you never know if what you think sounds ok could be real detrimental to others that you have no intentions of causing problems for.

 

Kinda off topic, I've been reading about the desire to ban breeding bitches over the age of 6 in puppy mills, sounds good especially to someone that does not understand the value and time put into proving dogs, but would it be good if applied to everyone? I heard a statement from a vet that breeding bitches over the age of 6 was inhumane and have read vet info that would support the arguement. Same deal with breeding a bitch more then once per year. Let's see, it takes how many years to prove a working female, how many litters could you produce legally if who ever thinks this is a great idea was able to get there way? No big deal, just flush her and go embryo transfer. Money money money....

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Here is a link to the Text Amendments for anyone interested;

http://www.clarkecounty.gov/government/pub...04-02-2010.html

 

Unfortunately, those are not the actual text changes, they are just a summary of them. The text changes would show exactly how the law would read after it was amended, if the changes were approved. For example, I would like to see the actual wording that they summarize by saying "and to state that such use has or is determined to need a Business License and has five or more adult companion animals," which is grammatically muddy. Will it be worded just to substitute "5" for "20" in the existing ordinance, or will the wording be changed so it might cover anyone who has 5 or more adult companion animals? Apparently it's the former, but you can't know for sure without seeing what the actual wording of the changed law would be.

 

It wouldn't be so bad if it was just about the care and well being of the animals. Some of the new bills and proposals are about making harrassment legal, making it difficult and unreasonably expensive to enjoy the life that you choose (the collective "you"). Setting the laws up so that if a person does not agree with your lifestyle that they have a legal means to gain enterance and to find an issue and get you to stop doing what they are uncomfortable with.

 

Well, notice that I said I wouldn't oppose "reasonable" changes. I would oppose unreasonable changes. For example, I would have opposed the Iowa provision that would require a commercial kennel license for anyone offering training services for compensation, and I would oppose a requirement that anyone with more than four dogs needs to get a kennel license. My point is that I would decide based on what the proposed law actually said, not whether or not the HSUS supported it.

 

I cannot make heads or tails of the NRA's statement of opposition. What's the problem with "companion animals"? "Companion animal" is already used elsewhere in the ordinance, and is defined as follows:

 

ANIMAL, COMPANION. Any domestic or feral dog, domestic or feral cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit not raised for human food or fiber, exotic or native animal, reptile, exotic or native bired, or any feral animal or any animal under the care, custody or ownership of a person or any animal that is bought, sold, traded, or bartered by any person. Agricultural animals, game species, or any animals regulated under federal law, as research animals shall not be considered companion animals for the purposes of this ordinance.

 

Why do they think changing "dogs, cats, or canine/feline animals" to "companion animals" is a change that needs to be fought?

 

And unless the text summary is totally inaccurate, the proposal would NOT change the ordinance so that "the ownership of five or more adult companion animals will require a Business License." That is just a plain misstatement of what the amendment summary says. I don't see how the proposed change would affect the keeping of hunting dogs at all.

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My point is that I would decide based on what the proposed law actually said, not whether or not the HSUS supported it.

 

I wish everyone would do that and I also wish it was easier to find the information and understand it vs. having to rely on lobby groups and their attorneys for interpretation reviews

 

I tried to find a view on the "Companion Animal" change but have not found anything yet. I curious, are dogs considered livestock in the juristiction? Does reclassifying them as companion animals change the laws that are applied to their care, well being and the enforcement.

 

That's kinda a big deal here in Iowa, dogs are governed as if they are livestock on the enforcement side but from a sale standpoint not, they demand sales tax to be paid, we don't get the same agricultural related tax break

 

Right there might be the answer, does reclassifying the dogs as companion animals take them out from under USDA watch from a state animal welfare direction or do you lose agriculture status as a breeder if it is currently being utilized?

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Trying to find if there is anything stating that Companion Animals can not be considered Personal Property, memory has me thinking that there is a link there

 

 

I'm finding articles about wanting to reclassify companion animals so that they are no longer considered personal property and giving them rights with advocate groups representing them, I could see that groups would consider changing dog, pet as working to "Companion Animal" would be a step into that direction setting the framework for the push to reclassify them out of the Personal Property catagory. I think it falls into the same catagory as Guardian and Adopt vs. purchase, the arguement that there is an attempt to treat and give pets the same rights as people.

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Aside from any legal aspect that may apply to changing the name to "Companion animals", I think the NRA's (and others) objection to the term is that it is an attempt to "humanize" the relationship. Rather than calling them 'working dogs' or 'hunting dogs', which can convey more of a stock type relationship, calling them 'companion animals' paves the way to enact more legislation to "protect our companions"..........it is just a turn of phrase meant to instill in the general public that these animals are "companions" not just work partners. (This is not to say that for many of us, that is the relationship we have with our dogs and it's not necessarily a bad thing)

I don't know if I am making any sense, but that's kind of my take on it.

 

PS: I have an NRA sticker on my car, but I am certainly NOT a paranoid, black helicopters coming to take my guns person! lol :rolleyes:

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Trying to find if there is anything stating that Companion Animals can not be considered Personal Property, memory has me thinking that there is a link there

 

 

Yes, I recall a thread about this topic. I want to say it was California related (sorry you all from Jefferson!) and something to do with calling owners "guardians" instead. Therefore you don't "own" them....

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