A A year after imposing a moratorium on reviewing permit applications to establish kennels, the city of Gardiner has finally passed its new kennel law. At its February 8 meeting, the city council voted unanimously to close the public hearing on the new local law, issue a negative statement on its environmental assessment form, and pass it.
The impetus to change Gardiner Zoning Code Sections 80-15 through 80-24 that apply to kennels came in the summer of 2020, when Springtown Farmland, LLC submitted a proposal to convert an old farmhouse 180 acre equestrian at 163 Denniston Road, off Sand Hill Road, in a kennel. Among the residents of the neighborhood was Planning Board member Josh Verleun, who quickly determined that the intent was for the site to house a puppy mill, not just a place to leave your dog on vacation. Concerned about the potential for incessant noise, dog waste runoff and other issues, neighbors were bracing for a fight when Springtown Farmland suddenly withdrew their request.
Verleun’s review found weaknesses and inconsistencies in the language of the section of Gardiner’s code governing kennels, so the city council imposed a six-month moratorium, then extended it while a committee led by former Councilor David Dukler was researching model kennel laws in other communities. It took several feedback and tweaking sessions before board members arrived at a version they said left no escape for bad actors, but still allowed private individuals to sell a random litter of puppies or raising hunting dogs.
For the first time, the new Kennel Law explicitly prohibits the breeding of dogs for commercial purposes in the town of Gardiner. Kennels may still be established, in agricultural/residential zoning districts only, for the purposes of “boarding, grooming, hire-for-hire, training for hire, or sale”. Other types of establishments to house or house dogs, such as animal hospitals, shelters, and rescue organizations, are also permitted by law. The number of adult dogs kept in a non-commercial kennel cannot exceed ten at any one time.
Much of the text of the law focuses on the specific conditions that must be maintained in these facilities to ensure “the wholesome and humane treatment of dogs”, as well as “the rights of residents of Gardiner to the peaceful enjoyment of their property “. “Temperature control, ventilation, sanitation, lighting, nutrition, bedding materials, veterinary care, pen and pen sizes, construction materials, soundproofing, room Exercise and opportunities for interaction with handlers and other dogs, if applicable, are now all specifically addressed in the code.
The law notes that, in cases where city standards do not fully match the provisions of the Puppy Welfare Act of 2001, Amendment to the Federal Animal Welfare Act, “the higher standard shall prevail.” . Kennels must obtain a special use permit, submit a management plan, and be licensed and inspected annually by the City’s Dog Control Officer. Permits can be suspended or revoked by the city council “if the operation is deemed harmful to the community”, and a structure of fines ranging from $350 to $3,000 plus imprisonment has been established for violators.