Magistrates reject dog kennel zone change

Published 6:19 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Boyle Fiscal Court plans to enact an ordinance to back up Danville-Planning & Zoning Commission on a recent zone change denial. The request, submitted by Bryan Sharp, was filed back in August after neighbors complained about the number of dogs on his property at 3204 Perryville Road.

P&Z held a public hearing Oct. 3 about the request, which Sharp submitted in order to get his 2.33 acre property rezoned from GR-A (general residential) to AR-1 (agricultural/residential). Several neighbors spoke at the hearing, citing issues such as howling or loose dogs, or the overwhelming smell of animal waste.

P&Z voted 9-0 to deny the request. Tuesday, the fiscal court voted unanimously to create an ordinance backing up P&Z’s denial.

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“What he’s doing is obviously illegal,” Magistrate Jack Hendricks said. He said he thought if an ordinance was created, maybe it would give the P&Z denial “more clout” if it is appealed to Boyle County Circuit Court.

County Attorney Lynne Dean, Judge-Executive Harold McKinney and P&Z Director Steve Hunter said an ordinance probably would not strengthen any part of an appeal, since it would be judged on the merits of the zone-change hearing and the overall case information. However, magistrates wanted to send a clear message the court doesn’t support what Sharp is attempting to do.

Although Sharp testified to P&Z he runs a “commercial kennel” and purchased a kennel license from the county to run such a business, when reached for comment Tuesday he said he does not.

“They are my pets,” Sharp said, stating that he currently has 12 Siberian huskies. He denied he breeds the dogs to sell. He said he just recently took one to the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society because of a personality conflict with another dog.

However, a review of Sharp’s Facebook page shows advertisements from February, April and June he posted selling Siberian husky pups, from $300 to $500 each. The posts show the puppies, as well as offer further pictures or videos to anyone interested in buying, and mention the “CKC registration,” which stands for Continental Kennel Club — a company that registers purebreds.

Tuesday, Hunter said the issue of the dogs on Sharp’s property came into play after complaints were not only called into P&Z, but the health department and the humane society, as well.

Sharp said none of the neighbors who spoke at the hearing have approached him in-person to voice any complaints about his dogs. He claimed he is unnecessarily watched, then mentioned complaints by neighbors about junk cars on his property being messy, and the three times he has been reported due to fires he didn’t have permits for.

When asked what his next move will be now that the request has been formally denied, Sharp said, “Well, I don’t know that because I didn’t get anything from Planning & Zoning.”

Hunter said Sharp was present at the hearing and meeting, where his request was denied.

“I am not sure, because I’ve got my attorney working on a few different things,” Sharp said. “I’m not dumb. I’m always looking for loopholes … I’ve got an apartment on top of the garage back here. I can just move one of my employees in there, and then say three of the dogs are his, and that six dogs are mine. I’m like Donald Trump — I’m always looking for loopholes.”

Sharp said he would not sell any of the remaining dogs, but would give them away.

Magistrate Phil Sammons, who lives near Sharp, has been vocal about the situation, and spoke in opposition to the zone change during the October hearing.

“The dog stink would knock you down. On top of the dogs, Sharp has old automobiles out there. This was a beautiful property until this man moved in. It looks like a junkyard most of the time. We don’t need this in a residential area and I’m begging you all not to approve this request,” he said during the October hearing.

Other neighbors spoke about the safety of children of the area, since they say they’ve seen some of the dogs get out of the yard.

Judge-Executive McKinney brought up facts Tuesday for the magistrates to consider, such as a possible special meeting needed to fit in required readings of the ordinance, and said the next step must be taken within 90 days of the P&Z vote.

“That’s a good point,” Hunter said. He and McKinney jointly figured the 90 days would be up right around Jan. 1. Plus, Hunter said, creating an ordinance also will cost the county, since it must be published.

“I just don’t think there’s any advantage one way or another in circuit court,” Dean said, in reference to creating the ordinance. Hunter concurred, and again said the circuit court will look at the hearing record to make a decision.

McKinney said he agreed with Dean that the ordinance probably wouldn’t have any weight. Magistrates then voted unanimously in favor of proceeding with creation of an ordinance, with a first reading planned for the next meeting.

The next regular meeting of the fiscal court will be held 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29; it was rescheduled to give staff time to get things in order after the Thanksgiving holiday.