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February 3, 2023

1/6/2023 11:40:00 AM
Sunrise family keeping of rescue dogs not compatible in quiet, nature setting

A family in Sunrise Township, keeping nine dogs on their just-under-10-acre parcel, is facing the prospect of having to shed at least six of the animals. County commissioners directed staff last week to draft a resolution denying the kennel application with language for factual findings supporting denial.

The county zoning code limits parcels to no more than three dogs and if you want to house more than that you need a permit for a “kennel.”  This process gives neighbors a chance to weigh in, gives officials the chance to inspect a site periodically, and applies standards that are meant for the health and peace of mind of all.

In Sunrise;  the Albrecht Family was given notice  last week that the County Board has little support for the request to own multiple dogs, or seeking the permit after the fact.  

The Board voted 2-3 expressing its opposition to approving the application and action will be on the agenda to act to deny the kennel designation in 30 days.  

The wild card is that one commissioner opposed is leaving office and the stance of the incoming commissioner is unknown.

Commissioner Marlys Dunne said she has gotten many complaints related to this site and the “enforcement” stipulations included by the county planning commission in the permit were laughable.  

Commissioner Chris DuBose, who was attending his final board meeting,  said people should be able to enjoy their property and the issues the Board was advised of— especially “past barking habits’ don’t bode well for this.

Sunrise Township Board authorized the interim use kennel permit on a 4-1 vote, according to materials accompanying the application.  The IUP would cease to exist whenever the parcel is back down to three dogs through attrition.

Commissioners Rick Greene and Dan Dahlberg voted to approve the permit last week.

Commissioners Chris DuBose, Marlys Dunne and Ben Montzka voted that they wanted to see wording supporting  a resolution to deny the kennel.

Nearby property owners expressed their annoyance about barking dogs and seemingly no response to attempted contacts with the Albrechts. A next door landowner who now lives elsewhere, said he spent some days in a camper and is re-thinking plans to build a dwelling on his land.

The permit applicants however, told the Board that nearby property owners antagonize the dogs, rev engines on ATVs and are not helping the situation.  The dogs are rarely left unattended,  the Board was advised. The kids are homeschooled and one of the adults works from home to make sure the dogs are supervised.  

There’s a husky mix, terrier mix, five Great Pyrenees type dogs, a boxer and a setter.  The Albrechts went the extra mile and provided commissioners with brief bios on each dog, their health challenges and life hurdles.  

The  dogs (with the exception of a couple surprise puppies) have been placed with the Albrechts by an unidentified foster/rescue group, according to the family.  
The only alternative to the dogs coming to live with them was putting the dogs down, the Board heard.

The family acknowledges that it has met its limit with the nine dogs and informed the rescue network they won’t accept any more.

How we got here:
One Pyrenees, rescued from a dwelling harboring 25 animals,was 51 pounds when he arrived and is now seven years old and weighs 140 pounds.  Another was fed road kill by a farm family who shouldn’t have had pets and required I-V feeding and care around the clock. Another dog was given up due to killing chickens and was rehabilitated by the Albrechts.  The boxer was hit by a vehicle and the Albrechts said they agreed to keep him while he healed.  That was two years ago.

Explaining their support for the kennel approval—Commissioner Greene felt that if problems persist after the permit is issued the permit can be revoked.

Commissioner Dahlberg also was willing to grant another chance,  but added, “that’s a lot of dogs’ and “I’m not going to have any patience” if this comes back before the Board.

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