He opposes dog training in Southampton

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To the Editor:

Some citizens of Southampton County may be referred to as “unpatriotic” if they do not want military dog training conducted in their back yards.

My family has a very lengthy military history of defending our country as far back as the Revolutionary War; three of my brothers have served active tours of duty in the Army.

Even though it wasn’t brought before citizens of Southampton County, including the Board of Supervisors, Southampton County Board of Zoning Appeals and Southampton Planning Commission, training has already occurred on at least two of the properties being identified as possible military training sites. Sounds like gunfire, including the sound of mortar fire, have been heard.

It appears the general public has not been informed of what will actually happen if this recommendation is approved.

My property directly joins the property described as Tax Parcel 101-59 located on Odom Chapel Road approximately 1,740 feet south of its intersection with Cross Keys Road and is owned by Joan B. Bunn Life Estate. The property is zoned A-1, Agricultural, and is in the Newsoms Voting and Magisterial District.

This site is only one-fourth of one mile from my house. Approximately 15 elderly families also live within one mile of this proposed site as well as Odom Chapel Church.

I am strongly opposed to military dog training being approved in Southampton County. Some of my concerns are:

• Use of explosives? Transportation of explosives? Accountability of explosives?

• This is not a combat zone, nor do I want it to be similar to one.

• If training remains consistent, why the need for multiple training locations?

• Taxpayers should have opportunity to agree or disagree on use of closed public schools.

• Military training for military dogs — why not train on military property?

• Land Use Tax Program. How will this affect farmland; will crops no longer be grown on these properties? Will back taxes have to be paid on farmland in the Land Use Tax Program?

• Why not have considerations of landowners who live on adjoining properties?

• How will this affect wildlife and the passion for hunting many people have in this area?

• How will this affect property values?

Make your voice heard.

Please call or write members of the Southampton County Board of Zoning Appeals, and attend the Southampton Planning Commission meeting Thursday, Aug. 11, at 7:30 p.m.; attend the Southampton County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, and sign a petition in disapproval of the military dog training.

There is less than one week left until the zoning board will make a decision. You never know how this may affect you, your family or your friends. First an outlying landing field, now military dog training? My question is “what’s next?”

Steve Ferguson