Dog breeders speak out at County Commission meeting

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

COLUMBIANA — Local dog breeders spoke out about what a kennel is — and isn’t — during the Oct. 11 County Commission meeting and work session.

The commission will soon consider passing an ordinance defining the word “kennel” in order to be able to regulate such operations.

Currently, the proposed definition reads: “For the purpose of this ordinance, a kennel (commercial) will be considered as any combination of structures, pens, areas or enclosures, covered or uncovered, where dogs, cats or other domestic animals are kept for the purpose of boarding, grooming or training for sale, compensation or any other commercial purpose.”

Ellen Worthington of Wilsonville, who raises dogs to show, said she believes the word “commercial” will send the ordinance down a slippery slope.

“‘Commercial’ is a dangerous word in the dog business,” she said. “A kennel is merely an enclosure that houses a dog, period. This is poorly written.”

To operate a kennel, residents must have property zoned as agricultural or light industrial. If property is zoned as agricultural, the kennel must be at least 75 feet away from property lines.

Commissioner Larry Dillard said he is afraid the commission is infringing on the rights of property owners by setting out rigid rules for what property owners can do.

“If you ask somebody to give up 75 feet of their property, to me, that is un-American,” he said. “I hate to infringe on the property owners’ rights.”

However, Ruth Harrington, a Wilsonville resident, said such a rule is needed.

Harrington said a property owner near her daughter has approximately 20 dogs, mostly pit bulls, and several puppies. The kennel where the dogs are housed is approximately 20 feet from the property line, she said.

“On a humid day or a wet day, the smell is something awful,” she said.

Commissioner Lindsey Allison asked county employees to take feedback from the commissioners and residents and work on defining “kennel” and “commercial” before the commission would consider the ordinance.

In other commission business:

— Commissioner Corley Ellis was appointed to serve as chairperson and Commissioner Robbie Hayes was appointed to serve as vice-chairman effective Nov. 8. Ellis replaces Allison as the chairperson.

— The commission committed $142,000 to ClasTran to continue local public transportation.

— The commission passed a resolution to allow the Alabama Department of Transportation to widen and resurface stretches of road on County Road 87 and U.S. 31. ALDOT will also install traffic lights.