The Porter County
Board of Zoning Appeals divided 4-1 Wednesday on its approval of a proposed
rescue shelter for greyhound dogs where the CSX railroad crosses C.R. 100W,
at the northwest corner, in Liberty Township.
American Greyhound Inc., attorney Todd Leeth said the parcel is within a
Rural Residential district but there is not any district under the County’s
Unified Development Ordinance that has a dog shelter in its list of
permitted uses. American Greyhound is a non-profit corporation that has
worked over the years to foster greyhounds into homes and this is would be
its first shelter facility in Porter County, Leeth said.
On a 10-acre
parcel, the building will set about 340 feet away from the road and 600 feet
away from the nearest house. Leeth said there will be about 15 to 20 dogs at
its average capacity, but it could handle up to 30 in emergency situations
such as the sudden closure of a racetrack. Only greyhounds and other
sighthounds will be permitted, he said.
“We would adopt
them out as quickly as we could or move them to another shelter. The goal is
to adopt all dogs and foster those who are not adopted,” said Leeth.
The dogs would be
loaded and unloaded indoors and will be outside in a fenced-in area for play
and exercise no more than four hours a day, according to Leeth, who said
that volunteers will be supervising the dogs.
Noise “is not going
to be an issue,” Leeth said, because the building will have six inches of
insulation and will be far enough away from neighboring homes. There will
also be landscape added as a buffer, he said.
As discussed before
the County Development Review Committee earlier this month, waste will be
put into a receptacle on the southwest end and will be taken by disposal
services every two to three days, said Leeth and American Greyhound Inc.
President Jeff Coggins.
gave their concerns during the public hearing while local veterinarian Larry
McAfee supported the concept.
Charles and Sharon
Troup said they would like for the neighborhood to retain a residential
feel. “I don’t want to see this come through. I absolutely do not. I don’t
want the noise. I don’t want the smell. I don’t want the traffic,” Sharon
“I’ve seen these
places built and then the traffic starts coming and you’re there. You’ve got
to fight it all the time,” Charles Troup said, who said he is not against
the organization but reiterated his point it should not be in a residential
Rath said he’s not opposed as long as the BZA can enforce the conditions
that Leeth spoke about.
McAfee said he saw
the site plan and believes that American Greyhound is addressing all the
“They are a truly
professional and ethical organization,” McAfee said. “I think they meet all
the parameters for human care.”
McAfee added that
greyhounds are “highly nonaggressive” dogs and do not excite or bark as
often as other breeds.
volunteers will be with the dogs all times they are out doors and will calm
the dogs if they bark. Coggins has spent time greeting neighbors
door-to-door to let them know that if there is ever an issue with noise or
smell to call him, Leeth said.
comments were few, but member Marvin Brickner questioned if having 30 dogs
is needed since the animal specialists he’s talked to in researching the
variance have told him that the popularity of greyhounds has decreased
substantially in the last five years, possibly due to the fact they are not
well adaptive to cold temperatures.
McAfee said he
would not agree with Brickner’s findings and from what he has seen at his
practice, greyhounds remain a very popular breed.
that he doesn’t think the shelter should house more than 20 dogs at a time.
He dissented on member Bob Poparad’s motion to approve the variance with the
condition that the shelter could hold up to 30 dogs as well as the other
conditions Leeth spoke of.
Voting in favor
were Poparad, Luther Williams, Michael Young, and President Debbie
Leeth said traffic
would not be an issue because the shelter would not operate as a normal
business that is open for the public to visit. Adoption visits will be made
by appointment with Coggins. There will be one or two open house events in
the summer, however.
Coggins will return
to the Development Review Committee for final approval of the site plan.
In a 5-0 vote, the
BZA approved Adam Ispas’ request for a developmental standards variance to
place a secondary primary structure on a five-acre parcel at 567E 700N in
Jackson Township zoned Rural Residential.
The property is
currently heavily wooded and includes a wetland where drainage will be
directed to, said Leeth who acted as attorney for the petition.
Ispas wishes to
build a home for his family and a separate home unit for his parents. The
two units will be connected structurally by a four-seasons room, Leeth said,
and both will have two stories.