Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 21, 2012

Board says no to animal shelter

Smell, noise a concern for Pals for Paws project

By Megan Graham
Tribune staff writer

— Though a local organization cleared up an issue with property ownership, new issues surfaced at Tuesday’s meeting of the Howard County Plan Commission.

This time, neighbors’ concerns about an animal shelter going up  in their backyard resulted in the project’s rezoning request getting an unfavorable recommendation.

Local nonprofit Pals for Paws plans to build a low-cost spay and neuter clinic and shelter at 6972 E. 700 East.

The commission first discussed the rezoning in October and voted to table the request because there was a question of property ownership.

“Since then, I’ve seen the deeds and I’m not concerned that it’s an issue anymore,” said Alan Wilson, attorney for the county.

Neighbors of the proposed shelter attended Tuesday’s meeting to express displeasure at the prospect of the noise and smell that might result from the shelter. Some residents worry the shelter would result in decreased property values. Resident Tony DenOuden said he was concerned for the safety of his young children if the dogs were to escape.

Patricia Kelly, another resident, said though she appreciates Pals for Paws’ cause, she does not want the organization as a neighbor.

“I appreciate the passion that these people have. It is noble. It is beautiful,” she said. “However, I think it would be more beautiful located somewhere else than in my area.”

Mary Wilborn, president of Pals for Paws, said the concerns are unfounded. She invites anyone concerned about the noise or smell into her home, where she fosters large numbers of dogs.

County surveyor Dave Duncan said though the land use was deemed appropriate by the Howard County comprehensive future land use map, he believed the commission needed to consider the implications for the residents.

Ultimately, board members expressed strong support for Pals for Paws and its mission to spay and neuter pets, but did not believe this particular location was a fit.

The commission voted to give the petition an unfavorable recommendation with a 5-2 vote. It will now go to the Howard County Board of Commissioners for a rezoning hearing at 4 p.m. Dec. 3 in Room 338 of the Howard County Administrative Center, 220 N. Main St. The commissioners can accept the board’s recommendation or approve the rezoning.

Megan Graham is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. She can be reached by phone at 765-454-8570, email at megan.graham@kokomotribune.com.