By a 3 to 2 vote, the Starkey Town Board has adopted a local law that changes regulations pertaining to dog breeding kennels.
During a public hearing before the board voted on the law Sept. 6, six people told the board they favored the law while two expressly said they did not, and others spoke against kennels, but did not voice definitive support for or against the law, which sets new limits on the businesses within the town.
During the board’s discussion, Councilman Jack Ossont, who voted against the law with Councilman Fred Shoemaker, reminded the board that several states are further ahead of New York, and local towns.
Before voting in favor of the law, Supervisor George Lawson said, “My obligation is to represent all the residents... I have tried very hard to stay impartial and take everyone’s thoughts and wishes into consideration. This is a compromise.”
He, Bill Holgate, and Alan Giles voted in favor of the law.
During the public hearing, people spoke about adopting former breeding dogs who have had physical and social problems.
Planning Board Chairman Steven Fulkerson said the regulations will make any new kennels in the town a better environment for the animals. Robert Schiesser, a member of the planning board, and its former chairman said he sees this as an improvement over the town’s current regulations. “I’m all for it. It makes it easier for the planning board to make decisions.”
Starkey officials are asking other towns to join in a request for the Yates County Animal Control officer to inspect kennels.
In February, the board adopted a moratorium on issuing permits for dog kennels in the town until after new regulations for kennel operations were written and adopted.
The regulation will require kennels to comply with USDA and/or New York State Ag & Markets regulations, and have special use permit from the town.
Requirements for kennels include:
• Kennels must include design elements to mitigate noise inside and out to protect the animals’ hearing as well as prohibiting nuisance noise
• Primary pens, adjacent exercise areas, and outside runs must be a minimum of 200 percent of USDA standards, and include daily access to an outside area.
• Stacked pens will not be allowed for adult dogs
• Flooring in whelping areas shall not allow feet to penetrate the flooring.
• Waste shall be composted, and piles must be at least 200 feet away from a waterway, ditch, stream, pond, or lake. Compost may not be used on crops for human consumption.
• At least 50 percent of the flooring must be solid, and plastic covered wire flooring is permitted as long as the gauge of the openings is small enough to prevent injuries.
• The application must include plans for exercise, socialization, and grooming
• The name of a certified veterinarian who will attend to animals must be included with the application.
• A town official will visit the kennel at least once a year to assess the effectiveness of the regulations.