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MEDIA: Commercial dog breeders from Amish community speak out at Elkhart County Plan Commission

From: Pam
Sent on: Friday, March 9, 2012 2:38 PM


Meetup Members,


The Elkhart Indiana Amish breeders are in the spotlight once again. More tv coverage keeps the pressure on public officials to address the real problem – and it not a ZONING issue!


Elkhart County ships puppies weekly to The Family Puppy pet stores in Michigan. Devon Troyer has shipped monthly to the chain since at least 2008.



Commercial dog breeders from Amish community speak out at Elkhart County Plan Commission


Commercial breeders, also known as puppy mills, show concern about possible new zoning requirements in Elkhart County.


Reporter: Stephanie Stang


They've been called puppy mills but according to Indiana’s state law they're commercial breeders.


Thursday a handful of breeders from the Amish community spoke out at an Elkhart County Plan Commission meeting.


There were twelve people that spoke at the public hearing and nine members were from the Amish community.


It was the first step in updating an outdated zoning law. Right now in Elkhart County any person who owns more than four pets would technically need a special use zoning permit. So the plan commission wants to define the difference between a hobby breeder, kennel, and commercial breeder for zoning purposes.


Plus there will be regulation concerning where the bigger businesses can set-up, so they're not too close to neighborhoods.


“We're trying to establish more of a buffer between the residential and dog breeder,” says Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder.


Animal advocates spoke out emphasizing the need to regulate large scale operations.


Elkhart County Humane Society Director Anne Reel says, “I don't personally want people to have land usage when they are abusing animals and I don't think the board of zoning would want that on their heads.”


The plan commission recommended commercial breeders own only 3 acres instead of 40 acres.


In Elkhart County there are at least thirty commercial breeders that are registered with the U.S.D.A. By state law a commercial breeder is a person with at least 20 unaltered female dogs, who sells at least 500 dogs a year. Commercial breeders are required to register with Indiana State Board of Animal Health. Conversation covers land use issues, animal welfare


Conversation covers land use issues, animal welfare


Posted: 03/09/2012 at 1:15 am
by: Angelle Barbazon


GOSHEN — A public hearing on Elkhart County’s standards for breeding kennels quickly turned into a debate on whether land use issues should intersect with animal welfare.

The Elkhart County Plan Commission wants to add minimum acreage requirements for kennels and setbacks from property lines, a topic the zoning code does not adequately address, according to county plan Director Chris Godlewski. Animal welfare advocates who attended Wednesday’s meeting suggested that the well-being of furry friends should be part of that conversation.

“I know that you keep indicating that your position is about land usage,” Humane Society of Elkhart County Executive Director Anne Reel told the commissioners. “But you can’t separate land usage totally from the welfare and well-being of animals that are being bred and sold, especially as we looked at a considerable amount of situations where there is no oversight other than a federal or state agency that doesn’t have the ability to keep tabs on all of these specific groups, so we need to somehow make this compatible with what we want to see in terms of animal welfare in our area.”

Mike Yoder, who sits on the plan commission and the Elkhart County Commissioners, said he has been in contact with animal care activists who are concerned about the frequency of inspections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other regulatory groups. But, he said, animal welfare and zoning issues don’t go hand in hand.

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