Ken­nels Moved to M-1 Zon­ing in County Com­mis­sion Meet­ing

The Covington News - - SPORTS -

A con­tro­ver­sial zon­ing or­di­nance amend­ment deal­ing with ken­nels was sum­mar­ily passed by the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers at their reg­u­lar meet­ing Tues­day. “We just got out of the ken­nel busi­ness,” com­mented Com­mis­sioner Billy Smith af­ter the unan­i­mous vote.

The or­di­nance, which was the sub­ject of a pub­lic hear­ing held Tues­day, May 29th, was drawn up to al­low the lo­ca­tions of ken­nels in M-1, or light in­dus­trial, zon­ing. Prior to the adop­tion of this amend­ment, the county zon­ing or­di­nance did not con­tain a pro­vi­sion for ken­nels un­der any zon­ing def­i­ni­tion. The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion rec­om­mended the amend­ment to the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers.

The amend­ment is con­sid­ered con­tro­ver­sial due to the fact that Life for God’s Stray An­i­mals, a Rock­dale County an­i­mal shel­ter, which cur­rently houses ap­prox­i­mately 1,100 dogs, cats, and rab­bits, is seek­ing to re­lo­cate on a 296-acre tract in western New­ton County near the Rock­dale County line. The shel­ter is un­der a Rock­dale County Su­pe­rior Court or­der to the shut down the oper­a­tion. Jerry and Ann Fields, own­ers of the Shel­ter, are ap­peal­ing the rul­ing to the Ge­or­gia Supreme Court, and a rul­ing is ex­pected early in July.

The property the Fields are un­der con­tract to pur­chase is zoned agri­cul­tural. Al­though ken­nels were not a per­mit­ted use in any zoned area in New­ton County, Sharony said there was noth­ing in the zon­ing or­di­nance pro­hibit­ing ken­nels.

The new zon­ing amend­ment de­fines a ken­nel as “any lo­ca­tion where keep­ing, rais­ing, groom­ing, car­ing for, or board­ing of more than three dogs, cats, or other small an­i­mals, or com­bi­na­tion of these over the age of six months, for commercial, non-profit or hu­man­i­tar­ian is car­ried on within the county. This def­i­ni­tion does not in­clude an­i­mals raised by pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als for show, hunt­ing and the like, as long as the num­ber of an­i­mals does not ex­ceed fif­teen.”

The def­i­ni­tion of a ken­nel in the zon­ing or­di­nance prior to ap­proval of this amend­ment did not ex­clude the keep­ing of an­i­mals for “non-profit or hu­man­i­tar­ian pur­poses.”

Life for Gods’ Stray An­i­mals is a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion which has op­er­ated on four acres in Rock­dale County for 20 years. It was in­cor­po­rated in 1976.

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