The number of legal breeding kennels rose from four to six in Strasbourg township on Tuesday, after the township’s zoning hearing board approved two applications to allow two farmers to breed dogs on their farms.
Two additional applications for kennels in the township were flatly denied.
“There are a lot of kennels that are already being operated on farms,” township administrator Mark Deimler said Wednesday. “I wouldn’t venture to guess how many.
“We are investigating them based on complaints,” he added. “We don’t go from farm to farm looking for them.”
The board voted 4 to 1 on Tuesday to approve the nominations of Daniel E. Miller, 2455 Bachman Road, and Michael L. Beiler, 450-A Walnut Run Road.
Claims by John E. Fisher, 327 May Post Office Road, and Samuel E. Miller, 810 Deiter Road, were denied.
Donald Welk Jr., chairman of the Zoning Hearing Board, did not immediately return calls Wednesday. Zoning officer Jill Kennedy, who represented the township on Tuesday, referred questions to Deimler.
‘Cut and Dried’
The township ordinance states that kennels are permitted by special exception if the owner meets certain conditions such as lot size and setback distance, Deimler explained.
“The decisions speak for themselves. It was pretty cut and dried,” he said.
“The two that were approved met those conditions for approval. Under the law, the Zoning Hearing Committee really had no choice but to approve these applications.
The other requests required a waiver for a minimum lot withdrawal. Deimler said both were rejected on those grounds.
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“Council felt that granting a variation in the setback distance was not in the best interest of the neighbours,” he said.
The rejected applicants operate unlicensed kennels, Deimler said, and were issued notices of violation by his office.
Now, he said, they have three options: close the kennels, move the kennels to meet the township’s setback requirements and resubmit the claims, or appeal the council’s decision to the Court of Common Pleas. .
Disappointed with approvals
Terri Nettke, who lives in West Lampeter Township but whose mother lives near one of the kennels in question, said she was disappointed that two applications were approved.
She thinks the zoners might have turned them down because the kennels interfere with “the use and enjoyment of neighboring property.”
“We don’t need more puppy mills in the canton of Strasbourg. Or Lancaster County,” Nettke said.
“I don’t believe the majority of people in the county want dogs kept in cages all their lives,” she added. “Farmers let their cattle and chickens roam outside more than these poor dogs get in their lifetime. Mother female dogs are continuously bred until they are exhausted and discarded.
“Dogs are not cash crops, they are loving companions.”
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