Starkey approves kennel moratorium
STARKEY--The public hearing Thursday, Feb. 8 included 40 residents and business people both 'for' and 'against' a kennel moratorium for the town of Starkey. After two hours of public comments, the town council voted 3-2 to approve a temporary moratorium on issuing new permits for commercial dog breeding kennels.
Town Supervisor George Lawson said, "I don't expect this moratorium to take a very long time, my intent is maybe two to three months, but we need some time to look at all of the information and come to a consensus for people in Starkey."
Area veterinarians, dog breeders and residents attended and spoke at the hearing.
Dr. Glenn Fahnestock, a partner at Penn Yan Eastview Veterinary Clinic, said, "I oppose the moratorium. The moratorium ignores the fact that state and federal inspectors do a good job and kennels are inspected on a regular basis. Animals in the kennels are being vaccinated, they are treated for parasites and the kennel dogs are usually more healthy than regular pet owner dogs that we see. I'm concerned a moratorium could go on for a prolonged time and hurt an already depressed economic area."
Another resident pointed towards the Eastview veterinarians in attendance and said, "You only oppose the moratorium because you make money from the dogs."
Susan Farmer, a veterinarian at Bath Veterinary Hospital, applauded the town council for taking a closer look at the health and welfare of animals on the farms and also looking at the environmental concerns that breeders and kennels produce. Farmer said, "Many breeders don't let their dogs out for freedom and exercise daily. Also many dogs, especially larger ones, hurt their paws by standing all of the time on the wire bottom of a kennel cage."
Dr. Marlene Button, Millstone Veterinary Clinic, Dundee, said, "This is primarily an agriculture area and even though some people don't like to classify raising dogs as a livestock operation-it really is. I am opposed to the moratorium."
At least six area dog breeders attended the hearing and voiced their opposition to the proposed moratorium. One kennel owner said he even installed a separate septic system to properly handle the waste from raising dogs. Other breeders said they use composting to dispose of kennel dog waste.
Rebecca Pollack said, "I'm concerned about harmful algal blooms in Seneca Lake and we need to keep the lake as beautiful as possible. This is an important environmental issue."
After all the people in attendance had an opportunity to speak, Starkey council members offered their thoughts and then voted 3-2 in favor of the moratorium. Jack Ossont, Fred Shoemaker and George Lawson voted in favor of the moratorium. Council members Bill Holgate and Alan Giles voted against the resolution.
Lawson then scheduled the next town meeting for Thursday, Feb. 22 to review the dog kennel issues and again said, "We are not going to delay with this issue, we are going to review it and make some decisions best for the people in Starkey."
In other business:
• Council members reviewed the language of a new Starkey short-term rental law. In essence, the law will require Starkey property owners to obtain a town permit and pay a permit fee if they rent their property more than two times per year. The permit requires the applicant to include information about the number of rooms, square footage, parking spaces and additional details of the rental units. The town plans to forward the draft copy to their town attorney and will then plan to adopt the law once it is approved.
• The town decided to send a letter of opposition regarding the proposed garbage incinerator in the Seneca County town of Romulus.