John Garlet has lived in his Evansville home since 1976, carefree for decades, but lately the problems have been piling up.
In June, Garlet filed his first complaint with the Vanderburgh County Plan Commission regarding the opening of a dog kennel at the nearby former auction house on Heidelbach Avenue.
“[A] dog came out of that door, ran over there under that fence and jumped on me,” Garlet said, pointing to a large chain-link fence next to her house. “I was there and there was no doubt if that fence hadn’t been there, that dog would have eaten me alive.”
Garlet’s house is on Iowa Street. There is an empty fenced lot that separates it from the kennel property, but dogs have access to this lot.
Over time, more and more concerns were raised. Garlet’s wife shared photos of other dogs getting too close to feel comfortable, including one she said was scratching under the fence.
Garlet said the owners of the kennel eventually removed the vicious dog that nearly jumped the fence, but he also said the dogs weren’t nearly released anymore, which changed the reasoning behind his complaints.
“To me, it looks like they don’t care about the dogs,” Garlet said. “Dogs need more room to run, they need food, water, they need to get outside and breathe fresh air and to run, to exercise and they don’t Nothing of the sort.”
Garlet walked 44News to the kennel on Wednesday to see if any of the owners wanted to talk, but no one answered the door.
The next day, however, about half a dozen dogs were out in the yard and someone was ready to talk.
“The dogs are well cared for, none of them are skinny – you can see they are all eating well,” said Lawrence Pennington, one of the kennel owners. “No aggression, no one is coming out, so I don’t understand why people keep complaining.”
Pennington and his business partner even peeked 44News inside the kennel. It was a wide open warehouse with individual crates and dog pens.
Garlet and his wife filed seven complaints between June 5 and July 12. All the while, the kennel operated without county approval.
“The license, yes, we were learning and we went,” Pennington said. “My business partner and I had dogs and the kennel was just something we wanted to do.”
The records showPennington’s business partner did not apply for a special use permit until July 26. The petition was scheduled to be heard by the Zoning Appeals Board on Thursday, but the kennel owners failed to submit the necessary paperwork beforehand.
“We brought the paperwork thinking we were supposed to hand it in at the actual petition meeting,” Pennington said.
The petition, which is filed in the name of his business partner, was one of two unread appeals at the meeting. It was extended and postponed to the next Board meeting in October.
“It’s gone now,” Pennington said. “Next month we will be there.”
It’s a learning curve for kennel owners, but disappointing news for Garlet and his wife as it’s still a month since they said they had to deal with the situation.
But even so, when the board finally votes, Garlet is certain his complaints will pay off.
“They don’t stand a chance,” he said. “They’ll never get the chance to zone him for that.”