Planners vote 7-0 against Sedley dog shelter

Published 10:09 am Saturday, June 12, 2010

COURTLAND—After hearing concerned neighbors, the Southampton County Planning Commission voted 7-0 to recommend that the Board of Supervisors deny the opening of a dog rescue facility in Sedley.

Jeff Burgess, in conjunction with Blackwater Builders, requested a conditional-use permit. A county native who wants to return, Burgess would like to operate his rescue and adoption facility, One More Chance Rescue and Adoption, from a 50-acre property on Drake Road.

The nonprofit facility is a “no-kill” operation and currently operates in Ohio.

“Typically, the (county’s) animal control officer handles 30 to 40 dogs a month and has to euthanize three-quarters of them or more,” said Beth Lewis, county planner and secretary to the Planning Commission. “Perhaps a facility like Mr. Burgess’ would help stem the need for some of that.”

Burgess told the planning commission that noise, safety and waste removal would not be problems.

“We’re not out here to be a problem,” he said.

The building housing the dogs would be well insulated, the facility would not take in aggressive dogs, and waste would be sent to nurseries for fertilizer or disposed of off-site, Burgess said. He also said any dogs that pass away would be cremated off-site.

While many neighbors said they supported Burgess’ mission, they didn’t think the location was a good fit. Concerns were raised about property values, safety and fire protection at the facility.

“I’ve got three neighbors around that have got dogs and I hear them all the time, and he’s going to have 200 or 300, maybe 400. You’re going to hear those dogs,” said Eddie Bulls. “As an adjacent landowner, I’m not in favor of this.”

The Planning Commission’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors, which will make the final decision on the permit.