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Starkey continues dog kennel review ADVERTISEMENT

Starkey continues dog kennel review

STARKEY--What kind of commercial dog kennel businesses do we want to support in the town of Starkey?
That is one of the central questions the Starkey town council members have investigated and researched for the past 60 days.
The town held a public workshop Thursday, May 24 at the Dundee Baptist Church (to accommodate the expected members of the public). Residents, veterinarians and current dog-breeders were among the 35 people attending.
Council member Fred Shoemaker started the meeting by summarizing some of the commercial kennel information he has learned. Shoemaker said he is concerned more than 50 percent of breeding dogs do not find companion homes after their breeding life has ended.
Shoemaker said breeding dogs are often put to death at the end of their four to six year breeding life. Shoemaker said most of these dogs have their life ended at less than half of their life expectancy.
Shoemaker said commercial dog breeders are only required to be inspected once per year by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the breeder's operation is not open to the public.
Shoemaker proposed a breeding concept that would include a breeder's whelping (birthing) center with the goal of re-homing a much greater percentage of breeding dogs within the town of Starkey.
Councilman Bill Holgate made the point he didn't believe the town wanted to change the current breeder's operations. Shoemaker said his concept was intended for future, new breeders in Starkey.
Supervisor George Lawson brought the discussion back to a draft copy (with a May 15 date) of kennel regulations that could be enacted for Starkey. The draft language includes:
All kennels (for commercial breeders with four or more dogs) must be in compliance with USDA and or New York state agriculture and markets regulations and require a special use permit from the planning board. In addition to the special use criteria in section 6.60 (of the town code) the local law the planning board shall be guided by the following criteria:
1. Design elements to mitigate noise both inside and out to protect the animals' hearing as well as prohibiting nuisance noise affecting human neighbors. Total decibel level should be below 95 to reduce hearing loss among breeding and puppy stock.
2. Primary pens, adjacent exercise areas and outside runs shall be a minimum of 200 percent of USDA standards, a minimum of 50 percent solid flooring and include free access to an outside portion of the pen. Stacked pens will not be allowed. Whelping areas shall not be located adjacent to flooring that would allow feet to penetrate the flooring.
3. Waste shall be composted following the guidelines in the breeder's guide. Piles should be situated a minimum of 200 feet from any waterway, ditch, stream, pond or lake. Composted material shall not be used to grow crops for human consumption.
4. Flooring shall be solid or plastic coated wire flooring. Plastic covered wire flooring is permitted (tenderfoot) as long as gauge of openings is small enough to prevent injuries to the size of the dog being housed. Solid flooring may consist of tile, concrete and or other materials that provide an easily cleaned surface. Areas in which the dogs are housed, exercised or allowed to roam in an enclosure shall be maintained daily in a clean and waste free environment.
5. Each breeding dog at retirement shall be spayed or neutered.
6. Each applicant for a kennel shall provide the name of a fully certified veterinarian who has agreed to attend any animals to be housed at the proposed kennel, and submit a letter from that veterinarian containing the following:
a) They are confident in the applicant's ability to properly care for the number of breeding dogs requested in the facility as designed.
b) They will instruct the breeder in proper technique and equipment for any procedures that the breeder is allowed to perform by law.
7. In an ongoing effort to more openly assure citizens of how kennels operate and produce well cared for animals, a town representative either a councilman or planning board member of the breeders choosing shall visit the kennel at least once per year to assess the effectiveness of these regulations.
After council discussion and reviewing the above draft regulations for two and one-half hours, only a few changes were suggested. The town lawmakers agreed to look into the wording of regulation number five to include language for the desire to re-home the breeding dog after retirement.
Supervisor Lawson said he would work on the wording changes and invited several people to send an email with specific recommendations about the kennel regulations. Starkey plans to conduct a public hearing concerning the new kennel regulations in June.

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