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Schuyler dog shelter is 'in jeopardy'

SCHUYLER COUNTY—Plans for the Humane Society of Schuyler County’s new dog shelter are in danger, if the Catharine town board votes down the required  special use permit.
“The project is in jeopardy,” said humane society Director Georgie Taylor.
She explained the society looked “long and hard” for a better location for the shelter.  Taylor added the group already invested significantly in this property.  The society is contracted to also serve as the county’s animal shelter, since Aug. 1, 2009.  However, Taylor previously explained the humane society does not have the space needed with the current facilities.
The project went before the Catharine town board, Tuesday, Oct. 19.  Taylor explained the board did not approve or reject the special use permit then.  The special use permit is on the agenda for the Tuesday, Nov. 16 meeting.
Instead the board gave the society a list of additional conditions.  She said those include:
• Acquiring additional land.
• Forgo future expansions.
• Remove the old buildings currently on the proposed site.
• Provide an architect’s drawing of the plans.
Taylor said some of the provisions were things the HSSC planned on doing any ways: removing the building and providing the plans.  However, she said agreeing to not expand would limit the facility’s ability to serve as a dog shelter.  Taylor explained the facility would not be able to accommodate the dog population if it grew in the future.
She also said getting more land is a problem.  Taylor said the society already purchased about two acres.  The land behind the location is owned by Frank Fielder.  Taylor said the owner would only sell what was originally acquired by the society.
She added the society’s attorney said they met all the requirements for the special use permit.  Taylor said a rejection by the town board would mean possibly reexamining the contract with Schuyler to serve as the county shelter.
One of the concerns, also brought up by some neighbors, was noise.  Taylor said the HSSC worked with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and sound engineers in designing the proposed facility to lessen dog noises.
Taylor added a dog shelter would not be “out of character” for the proposed area it’s in.  She said the county planner agreed a dog shelter would be similar to the other commercial facilities in this area, zoned for residential and agricultural.
At the Oct. 19 town board meeting, the humane society was joined by supporters.  Taylor said the HSSC also had about 200 letters and around 75 signatures in support of the new shelter.  She said the support came from all over Schuyler County, but mostly from within Catharine.  


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