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Dawson kennel can add more play and office space

The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a Special Use Permit on August 18 for the extensions proposed by Happy Dog Retreat, with stipulations for interior air conditioning, heating and soundproofing.

The land surrounding the kennel is zoned residential agriculture, which falls under special use. During their July meeting, the Dawson County Planning Commission recommended approval of the Special Use Permit.

Current owner Laura Manner told commissioners she bought it five years ago and added that the previous owner operated the facility for 20 years prior.

Proposed additions to the kennel include a new office building, approximately 612 square feet, with three additional spaces for dogs with special needs or sensitive dogs, and a 1,548 square foot indoor recreation building.

Manner said the relocated office is necessary because it can be difficult to answer phones and do similar business with dogs moving and exercising so close to the current office.

She explained that an existing cement pad would be the base for an enclosed recreational area.

District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett wanted to make sure the new indoor recreational dog facility would also be heated, and Manner and Farrell clarified that the building would also be winterized.

“We have a lot of dogs. We have plenty of space in the yard,” Manner said, “but we don’t have an enclosed area so we can give these dogs proper activity during the cold, heat, snow and rain that Dawsonville receives.

Manner also shared that his kennel holds an average of 35-45 dogs, but that number can fluctuate depending on how many dogs, including single, double and/or triple dog families, check in at a time.

During holidays, weekends or other times when people go on vacation, the kennel has housed up to 70 to 75 dogs, although the capacity is slightly larger than that, Manner added.

“I did this [type of business] almost 20 years, and I don’t care if I add dogs or keep them at a high level because it’s more about their care,” Manner said. “If we start looking to add dogs, we’re going to water down what we have (as a service) and I don’t want that.”

There have been no noise complaints for the facility, as it is surrounded by woods and pasture, Manner said.

“I believe she cares about her animals,” Fausett said.

“I do,” Manner said. “You can’t fake a business like this. You have to be there with your heart. That’s why I would like to see these improvements for dogs.

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