The Blairstown Township Committee (BTC) held a public hearing for Ordinance 2023-02, a resolution that would allow animal facilities such as kennels to operate within R5 Zones, or single-family residential areas.
Three types of kennels would be protected under this ordinance: boarding, commercial and rescue.
Boarding kennels provide temporary overnight or daytime-only boarding for a fee. Other services may include grooming, training, breeding and retail sales of household animals.
Commercial kennels host household animals for the purpose of breeding and training for monetary compensation but, cannot offer boarding of non-owned animals for any other reason.
Finally, rescue kennels are for humanitarian purposes and are legally registered as an Animal Rescue Organization with no fee or compensation. Such animals are to be moved to a foster or permanent home as soon as is practical.
While household animals include cats, birds, hamsters, etc. Blairstown residents are primarily concerned with dogs and their barking. Dave Sherell has dealt with this issue before— his neighbors were operating a kennel illegally, exactly 600 feet from his front door.
Eventually Sherell had to hire an attorney to get the illegal facility and its inhabitants removed.
“I seem to think that any reasonable resident might have an issue with somebody erecting a kennel neighboring their property. Dogs are inherently impulsive and loud, it’s not comparable to noises that we’re normally accustomed to here, in a rural area, like cows, horses, goats.”
He continued, “It’s my opinion that our five residential zones should not be included in this ordinance with the possibility of disturbing the peace in residential areas and other such issues.”
The ordinance states that these animal facilities must “Demonstrate the employment of adequate physical and electronic animal noise control systems.” Sherell asked what this meant. The township committee couldn’t answer.
According to committee member Walt Orcutt, “As he [animal control officer] explained to us, is that noise, when we talk about electronic animal noise control system, controls the noise 100%. There’s no bark, like no noise. I don’t understand it. But that’s how it’s supposed to work.”
Dennis Morgan, another Blairstown resident, came forward and asked for the township to provide more details before voting on this particular ordinance.
Orcutt answered, “Maybe we’re not ready to pass this thing yet.”
The committee voted to table the discussion to the following BTC meeting in February. The animal control officer will be present to answer any questions residents may have.
Alex Tironi, Contributing Writer
A recent graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, Alex pursued a degree in journalism with a double minor in American Sign Language and nonprofit studies. She worked as assistant news editor to the Fourth Estate, the university newspaper where she reported on many things but mostly focused on campus crime and PD activity. While working for a nonprofit called the Borgen Project, she wrote about global health and poverty in third-world nations. Alex recently finished an internship writing and editing for a business consulting company in NY. Growing up in the area, she has always been active in her community and brings the same intention as a contributing writer for the Ridge View Echo.