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By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, April 5, 2018

DINGMANS FERRY – Residents looking to house dogs or breed dogs, including show breeds, in a kennel will face more specific standards after the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors at last week’s meeting passed two amendments to existing ordinances after a public hearing.

With no opposition from the gathering and brief questions and comment from four individuals who shared some perspective, the board approved the amendments to Ordinance 901, defining the word “kennel” and Ordinance 110, listing more specifics for kennel use.  Township Attorney Thomas Farley said during the hearing the kennel is for boarding purposes only and responded to resident Steve McBride’s question about “puppy mills” that the ordinance does not allow for retail sale of dogs.

Ordinance 901 further defines kennel as any location with no more than 20 dogs kept at a time or a boarding kennel in which dogs are not all licensed in the property owner’s name.  Once those dogs are bred for puppies, the puppies must be removed to a new owner as soon as possible.  If the puppy is staying and gets licensed, it becomes part of the 20-dog limit.

A boarding kennel is defined in the ordinance amendment as “any establishment available to the general public where a dog or dogs are housed for compensation by the day, week or a specified or unspecified time” for the purposes of exercise, day care or entertainment for the dog.  It also does not allow for veterinary medicine to be practiced there as a service under act P.L. 995, No. 326.  It does not include an establishment engaged only in dog grooming or dog training, according to the ordinance.

Ordinance 110 amendments include that the property must be at least four acres in size.

The kennel is for conditional use, and an applicant must be approved by the Planning Commission and provide a copy of the kennel license to the zoning officer, who will be allowed access to the property as needed to enforce the ordinance.

Kennel owners may reside on the property, but if they don’t, it must be staffed 24/7.

Dogs may be let outside only between the hours of 7 am and 8pm, no closer than 100 feet to a property line and no less than 200 feet to any existing residence or noncommercial district line.  The township Planning Commission may impose additional setback restrictions regarding noise, odor, water pollution and other impacts on adjacent properties.

Areas must provide indoor and outdoor exercise areas for animals and must be enclosed by a fence satisfactory to containing the animals.

Animal waste and unconsumed food must be removed on a daily or more regular basis and water for cleaning cages must be disposed in a sewage disposal system approved for that purpose by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the township’s sewage enforcement officer.  Fecal waste must be stored in odor-proof, fly-proof containers to be removed from property by a solid waste hauler at least once per week.

Farley said that residents already housing or breeding dogs fall under previously existing ordinance requirements.  He said those “grandfathered” facilities can be sold to another breeder and continue under the old standards if established with the township by the original owner. 

The idea of the amendments stems from a September meeting in which the board granted a conditional permit from the zoning office to nationally certified show dog breeders Elisabeth Cologne-Szymanski and husband James Szymanski.  A neighbor had complained about noise from the 20 dogs on their property.

Farley said the township worked with them on the specifics to allow for their service many of them included in the new amendments.

The main points of the approval, all sides agreed, was the time allowed for the dogs to be outside: 7am to 8pm and a stockade wood fence to be built around the back of the property facing the neighbor, to reduce sound.

George Beodeker asked what happens if someone decides to open a breeding operation on commercial property and he was told it falls under the building ordinance.  Farley said any construction goes under standard zoning and is referred to the Planning Commission.

McBride offered some “housekeeping items” to tighten and clarify wording of the amendments.  Farley said necessary changes were noted and would be made.

“If someone is breeding dogs for short term and not keeping them in that case, there’s no need for conditional use,” Farley said.

Jennifer McPherson, who said she issues dog licenses, pointed out that the state has established more specific standards on matters such as the lowest temperature for a dog to be kept outside.

Dorothy Moon said as a professional breeder who also houses rescue dogs and has stayed under the 20-dog limit, she is concerned about exceeding that limit, but Farley assured her that her property falls under the old standards. 

Later in the meeting, the board approved a public hearing during the April 25 meeting at 7:15pm to further amend ordinance 901 to include the definition of “shed” and update the definition of land development with exception.

In other meeting news, Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson resigned as township secretary because of a physical condition he suffered recently that he said restricts use of his hands.  Supervisor Rick Koehler was approved as new secretary…Supervisors also accepted the immediate resignation of Marguerite Nemeth from the Planning Commission because she and her husband are moving.  The board agreed to advertise for letters of interest for the position.

The board also accepted the fiscal year 2017 audit performed by Kirk Summa & Co LLP and agreed to publish and advertise the township’s Concise Financial Statement for fiscal year 2017 on the modified cash basis by Kirk Summa & Co.

Key totals include $2,996,115 in total assets.  $44,048 in liabilities, $2,055,470 in total revenue and $1,879,777 in total expenditures.

It also approved renewing volunteer accident insurance with CIMA at a $582 annual cost.

Repairs by Marshall Machinery Inc. for $5,277.79 for the township chipper were approved after discussion.  Township Roadmaster Vince Flatt pointed out the chipper had been used extensively during storm cleanup and new ones cost between $40,000 and $80,000… The board approved payment of $1,800 to 12 independent contractors working the three days on road clearing and traffic control following Nor’easter Riley at $10 per hour over 15 hours of work by each.

Township Administrator Krista Predmore said during the workshop session before the meeting that the Delaware Plaza project “is moving forward despite what you’ve heard.  It will start this spring.”  She said the developer is looking to change the septic requirement but has gotten approvals from the state DEP, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Highway Occupancy Permit and a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System approval from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.  “They (developer) can come to the township for a zoning permit and move forward this spring,” Predmore said.

Predmore said during the workshop a “thank you” letter was sent to local company Sequoia Tree Service for its work during the storm but said additional work is needed that township employees do not have the equipment to handle.

Flatt said half a dozen “widow makers” (a hazardous detached or broken limb or tree top) are above local roads and Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker recommended the supervisors contact state Rep. Rosemary Brown and state Senator Lisa Baker to see if that work would be covered by state emergency grant money.

The board approved an Eagle Scout project by Matt Budd of Troop 175 to install two picnic tables that have handicapped accessible seating and to paint one of the swing sets to match the other at Ballpark Field off Wilson Hill Road.


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