Village board denies Spring Green couple’s dog breeding facility appeal

A Spring Green couple planning to run a controversial dog breeding facility has hit a roadblock in their attempt to get the operation that will sell beagles for medical testing up and running.

In July, the Village of Spring Green plan commission voted down a conditional use permit for a breeding facility at the residence of Jill and Clinton Kane on Pearl Road, which the couple appealed.

In a 4-1 vote after a 90-minute closed session meeting Tuesday evening, the board of zoning appeals denied that appeal.

A Village of Spring Green board denies an appeal in support of a couple’s dog-breeding facility, after the plan commission denied the permit in July. The couple already has a permit for a larger facility in the TOWN of Spring Green (Yes, it gets a bit confusing) @WISCTV_News3

— Madalyn O’Neill (@news3madalyn) October 9, 2019

The Kanes currently have a separate permit for a nearby kennel on Big Hollow Road to raise dogs in the town of Spring Green, which had to be approved by a Sauk County committee this past summer. That came after the town rescinded its recommendation of approval following community concerns.

“It’s been a battle,” said Spring Green resident Nicole Peterson, who lives near the facilities.

Peterson and others against the breeding facility on Pearl Road call the latest battle a win.

“It’s not just about research dogs, it’s about our entire community,” Peterson said. “I feel this is just not the type of area or community that this type of large-scale dog breeding facility belongs in.”

Peterson and many others have voiced worries that the facility would bring raise noise levels and lower property values, not to mention the ethical concerns.

“There’s so much better research these days that it can be done in different ways, and we don’t need to be using companion dog animals to do this research,” she said.

“All the people I spoke with feel it’s a necessary evil. Unfortunately, there is good that can come from this,” zoning appeals board member Michael Mertens said. “If there’s a way to do it and it can benefit people medically, benefit pets medically, there are benefits and I think people recognize that.”

Mertens is the only one of five board members who voted against denying the appeal, saying he believes the Kanes’ use meets the definition of kennel allowed by the village’s ordinance.

Board Chair Todd Miller said the intent of the word’s meaning in the ordinance isn’t clear and worries expanding the definition of kennel to include facilities that breed dogs for research could be detrimental

“It still stands, is it reasonable to have this kennel in an attached garage at residence in the zoning district,” Miller said during the meeting. “I feel very strongly it’s unreasonable.”

Board members in favor of denying the appeal cited neighbors’ concerns of nuisance and noise, though Jane Leaf, who lives down the road from the Kanes, spoke up.

“I have heard nothing,” Leaf said. “I don’t hear anything. There’s not a nuisance.”

The Kanes and their attorney, Michael Curran, attended the meeting, but didn’t offer comment, other than to say that their next step will be a circuit court appeal.

Village of Spring Green residents can vote on a referendum banning research puppy mills next year.

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