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February 7, 2013

Fauquier BZA delays vote on controversial kennel

Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Board of zoning appeals members Max Tufts, John Meadows and Harry Russell with copies of the 400 e-mails on the kennel application their staff received.
Photo/Lawrence Emerson
“Right now, my reputation is ruined . . . . They call me subhuman," Irina Barrett says. "I am not a puppy mill.”
Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Hilleary Bogley, a court-appointed humane inspector for almost 19 years, wrote a damning report about conditions she found at the kennel Jan. 12.
Photo/Lawrence Emerson
“The environment, I think, is very contaminated,” Kristen Hitt, an Arlington veterinarian, tells the board. “You should require an environmental impact study.”
Photo/Lawrence Emerson
“Those dogs have actually come on my property in a pack mentality,” says Jeff Khalatbari.
I got lots of negative publicity, but the (investigator’s) report that has generated it was based on inaccurate information. Yes, there were things that needed to be addressed. We’ve done a lot of things. We’ve made improvements.
— Irina Barret, Canis Maximus Kennel owner
Public Hearing
• Topic: Special permit for Canis Maximus Kennel's continued operation

• Agency: Fauquier County Board of Zoning Appeals

• When: Thursday, Feb. 7

• Length: One hour

• Speakers: 20, including applicant/owner Irina S. Barrett, a county humane investigator and 18 opponents of permit

• Site: 4.9 acres, 6205 Beverlys Mill Road, near Broad Run

• Zoning: Agricultural and rural conservation

• History: Kennel has operated 3-1/2 years without a permit; after complaints, county zoning official and animal control officer visited in August; humane investigator visited Jan. 12 and found numerous problems

• Issues: Zoning setback violations, management of dog waste, number of animals, noise and road entrance

• Vote: 3-0 on Thursday to keep hearing open and continue consideration until next BZA meeting March 7

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Editor
Fauquier’s board of zoning appeals Thursday afternoon postponed its decision on a controversial dog-breeding kennel near Broad Run.

Kennel owner Irina Barrett, a humane inspector and 18 opponents spoke during an emotional, hour-long public hearing before the BZA’s vote to reconsider the issue next month.

In violation of county zoning, Ms. Barrett for 3-1/2 years has operated Canis Maximus Kennel at 6205 Beverleys Mill Road. The kennel specializes in Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes.

A court-appointed humane inspector’s damning report (embedded below story) got wide distribution on the Internet before the hearing. The report’s findings include:

• The owner’s admission that two litters “had starved to death.”

• Lots of mud, feces and urine. “The dogs were unable to get out of their own waste.”

• Inadequate ventilation and dogs kept in “airline” carriers/crates.

• Dogs with skin conditions, sores on their feet and other medical problems.

The county staff in the last week has received 400 e-mails and 35 phone calls about the application, County Planner Don Del Rosso told the board and audience in a packed Warrenton meeting room Thursday.

“People from across Fauquier County, across the state and as far away as Boise, Idaho” have contacted the staff, Mr. Del Rosso said.

Mrs. Barrett cried at the lectern as she opened the hearing.

“I got lots of negative publicity, but the (investigator’s) report that has generated it was based on inaccurate information,” she said. “Yes, there were things that needed to be addressed. We’ve done a lot of things. We’ve made improvements.”

Mrs. Barrett relinquished some of her dogs to the Middleburg Humane Society.

The kennel owner described herself as the breeder of more than “30 champion” Doberman Pinschers.

“It’s not about the money,” Mrs. Barrett said as she began to cry. “It’s about self-realization for me.”

Of the recent publicity, she added: “Right now, my reputation is ruined. I’m the laughingstock of the world right now. I need to keep my dogs . . . .

“They call me subhuman . . . . I am not a puppy mill.”

Hilleary Bogley, a Fauquier County humane inspector for almost 19 years, disagreed.

“I consider it a puppy mill,” said Ms. Bogley, who first visited the kennel Jan. 12 and wrote the official report.

The inspector said Mrs. Barrett cooperated with her and “none of the dogs were in immanent danger . . . . Mrs. Barrett knows what she’s doing.”

Prior to moving to Fauquier, she had “a kennel in violation in Fairfax,” Ms. Bogley said.

With no help caring for almost 50 dogs, “she certainly was in over her head,” the inspector said. “But, there was not a cruelty to animals situation.”

BZA Chairman John Meadows asked how many dogs the five-acre property could “sustainably” accommodate.

“The number 12 came to me because I feel that’s a responsible number,” Ms. Bogley said.

Ms. Barrett’s zoning application seeks approvals to house 20 Doberman Pinschers and six Great Danes.

Eighteen other people — including several who live near the kennel — spoke against granting the permit for a range of reasons.

Kristen Hitt, an Arlington veterinarian, said the property poses environmental and health risks because of the kennel’s inadequate worming and rabies vaccinations of puppies, along with questionable management of dog waste.

“The environment, I think, is very contaminated,” Dr. Hitt said. “You should require an environmental impact study.”

Of dog feces the BZA saw in a compost area during its site visit Thursday morning, she asked: “So, where’s the other 3-1/2 years of shit?”

A neighbor, Jeff Khalatbari said: “I’ve called several times to animal control. We’ve called Irene and Franklin (her husband) . . . . The dogs have actually come over and cornered my horse.

“I don’t think a new facility will create a new mentality,” Mr. Khalatbari said of the kennel’s proposed improvements if it gets the permit. “It isn’t going to change the way they take care of their animals.

“Those dogs have actually come on my property in a pack mentality.”

Another neighbor, Charles Dennis said he and his wife have shown Dalmatians in American Kennel Club competitions for 20 years.

“I can’t sit on my patio day or evening without those dogs barking,” Mr. Dennis said. “I’ve counted 16 to 20 at a time. The noise is atrocious.”

He also expressed concern about his well because of the kennel’s waste and called the operation “a puppy mill.”

Carla Nammack said she had to “jump through hoops” 16 years ago to establish her kennel near Catlett.

Country Club Kennels & Training has grown to 45 acres and can board as many as 80 dogs, Ms. Nammack said.

Because her operation needs 10 employees, she questioned how one person could adequately care for the number of dogs at Canis Maximus.

“I don’t think she should be rewarded for blatantly ignoring the rules and jumping from one county to another,” Ms. Nammack said of Mrs. Barrett.

Beth Connell asked the BZA to carefully consider the precedent approval might set for others who want to operate kennels in Fauquier.

With two of its members — Michael T. Brown and Mary North Cooper — absent, the BZA voted to keep the public hearing open until its March 7 meeting.

Harry Russell and Max Tufts Jr. agreed with Chairman Meadows as he held up copies of the 400 e-mails the staff had received.

None of the BZA members has had time to read everything in the file, Mr. Meadows said.

Several audience members pressed the board about what would happen to the dogs at Canis Maximus during the one-month delay.

“It is not of our purview,” Mr. Meadows replied. “Today, we are looking at a land-use issue.”

He suggested concerned citizens contact the county zoning office.

Broad Run kennel before BZA by Fauquier Now



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Yale Law · April 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm
I hope the individuals whom posted the comments below understand that the above matter is a issue involving zoning and not animal cruelty. If there was a question of animal cruelty the dogs all of them would have been taken away initially. Please try to keep the two issues separate. I am not a Barrett supporter but I believe people should be able to do with there land as they like given they utilize the proper permits. For Bogley to utilize the the dogs and animals to prevent. Zoning issue from going through is insulting to the educated person. If there is a animal cruelty issue then take the dogs away. If there is not then allow the women to get the permit and stop using your power to destroy people's lives for the purpose of self grin through the re sale of dogs as ms. Bodley has demonstrated in the past.
Gayle · February 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm
I am worried about the dogs still living with Irina. What about the dead puppies that starved to death. Any responsible breeder would never let their puppies starve to death. They would never let their dogs live in such terrible conditions. Any reputable breeder would NEVER sell dogs on Craig's list. This women should not be given a kennel license. She should have all her animals taken away from her and never be allowed to own any animals ever again. Let's put this women out of business! She is a disgrace to Fauquier County
rtas47 · February 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm
Perhaps the citizens of Fauquier need to replace these board members since they are obviously not interested in doing their job. From what I have just read about this situation, these dogs appear to be in grave danger and could very well be dying as I write this. AND all this BZA has to say is "“It is not of our purview,” Mr. Meadows replied. “Today, we are looking at a land-use issue.”" True to form of midlevel bureaucratic bullshit, the issue is being sidestepped because there is nothing in it that they can be obtain for value. Guaranteed...if a parcel of land was involved a decision would have been made the very day. One need not be Sherlock Holmes to determine that this is a puppy mill keeping animals in horrendous conditions until they can be sold. Shame on this BZA board. And as for this Irina Barret, she should be charged with animal cruelty and her picture displayed right along with the most wanted displayed by today's Fauquier Now. Shame...shame...that such despicable practices are allowed and all that can be said by people who could directly rectify the situation is "that is not in our purview".
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