Dogs 1, neighbors 0
F’ville backs off muzzling dog barking
The idea of imposing additional restrictions on animal shelters and commercial kennels went by the wayside Jan. 2 when the Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously to eliminate proposed measures related to the number of dogs at a facility and other requirements such as the use of noise abatement materials. Still in play and under review is the city’s noise ordinance.
The proposed amendment to put more stringent controls on animal shelters and commercial kennels came before the council in late 2012. The council initially considered requiring new and existing animal shelters and kennels to keep a maximum of 16 animals on the premises at one time, to allow a maximum of four animals outside at any time, to have employees on duty when animals are outdoors, to install a 6-foot fence with opaque materials and to have the facility constructed to contain noise, odors and drainage.
Action by the council at the Jan. 2 meeting eliminated those conditions while maintaining that future business applicants for those facilities be approved by special exception.
Noise complaints and adherence to the city’s noise ordinance will remain in force. The ordinance is currently under review.
Two previous meetings were populated by a number of public speakers voicing complaints about noise and others voicing support for Courtney’s Canine Care animal shelter on Industrial Way which has been the subject of the noise complaints from a nearby business and some residents of the Autumn Glen subdivision.
Autumn Glen subdivision resident Carolyn Cary was one of the few people speaking on either side of the issue at the Jan. 2 meeting.
Mincing no words, Cary asked if the council intended to “pussyfoot around about the noise.”
“I can’t sit on my front porch with my family and neighbors,” Cary said just prior to asking council members what they would do on behalf of seniors in her neighborhood.
In response, Councilman Mickey Edwards addressed the need to review noise abatement issues while Councilman Ed Johnson referenced the need to work cooperatively and to hold businesses accountable to the requirements of city ordinances.
“The city approved the (Courtney’s Canine) business license but not giving her time to address (the issues) is unfair,” Johnson added.
Councilman Paul Oddo in his remarks noted that receiving a business license does not negate any business from adhering to ordinance requirements.
And Mayor Greg Clifton weighed in saying that businesses must be mindful of the rights of others.
Another public speaker was Dave Williams whose business is located across Industrial Way from Courtney’s Canine Care.
As he noted in a previous meeting, Williams said his only concern was the noise being generated by the dogs at the facility.
Also commenting on the issues and in regard to noise complaints, City Manager Joe Morton said Courtney’s Canine Care has been cited twice. On one of those citations the business was found guilty while the second citation is currently in progress, Morton said.
Asked by Cary if neighbors should continue to turn in noise complaints, Morton said, “Yes. Neighbors are vital to the process.”
For her part, Cary did not appear to be overly impressed by the comments from council members.
“This has been going on for one and a half years. I hope you’ll address this in a timely manner,” Cary said.
Also speaking in public comments was attorney David Studdard who represents Courtney’s Canine Care.
“I know an end-run when I see one. (Courtney’s) has abated some issues, yet I’m hearing a cacophony of voices on the noise ordinance,” Studdard said. “Dogs make noise, and when you’ve got a permit I can only assume that the city knew what it was getting into when the business license was issued. I would caution that this looks tailored to put her out of business.”
Studdard said his client had inquired about noise abatement fencing, adding that such a measure would cost approximately $10,000.
The issue went to the council once public comments had ended. Prior to the unanimous vote to remove the previously proposed restrictions, Johnson said he believed everyone involved want to see an amicable solution.
Morton after the meeting said the noise ordinance is currently under review. City staff will consult the city attorney and review the noise ordinances of other jurisdictions, Morton said.
Below, Fayetteville Council members vote on the proposed kennel ordinance. Photo/Ben Nelms.