Dog breeding facility approved

Edward River Council general manager Phil Stone. Photo by Supplied

A dog breeding facility accommodating up to 120 dogs and 100 puppies has been approved by Edward River Council for a property in Warragoon.

It is despite the development application for the dog breeding facility receiving 33 objections from residents in the 14 day exhibition period.

The DA has been considered at council multiple times since it was submitted, with councillors resolving for more time to make a final decision, due to the complexity and scale of the project.

After being deferred in March, council finally voted on the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday.

In March, councillors agreed, “questions regarding the conditions of consent” on the DA meant they were inclined to hold off the decision.

The motion to approve the DA was carried on Tuesday by majority, with five out of eight in favour.

Councillors Tarria Moore, Pat Fogarty and Marc Petersen all voted against the motion to approve.

Cr Fogarty said due to strong community sentiment, she could not vote to approve the facility.

“In my time on council, I’ve never seen so many objections,” Cr Fogarty said.

“Maybe we can push these things a bit harder - maybe the state government can pick up on this and consider legislation that prevents these type of developments.”

The region has faced similar turmoil with a dog breeding facility in Moama in the Murray River Council, which saw 30,000 people sign a petition against the approval of that DA.

The Moama facility can hold 200 dogs and up to 120 puppies, and was approved in April last year despite nation wide uproar.

Large scale dog breeding facilities have been heavily restricted in Victoria as community attitudes toward them have changed, but in NSW are allowed if they meet regulations.

Edward River Council general manager Phil Stone said council is not required to consider the ethical ramifications of DAs, but rather whether they pose a negative impact on town planning, or do not meet legal regulations.

“There are a lot of emotive topics and sentiments from the community,” Mr Stone said.

Most of the objections sent to ERC were disputing the ethics of holding up to 220 animals in converted sheds at the property, while a few were from neighbours who raised concerns about increased noise and traffic.

“The RSPCA was contacted for its point of view on the facility and it didn’t respond, and the (council) officers found there did not appear to be any environmental affects of use of the land for dog breeding,” Mr Stone said.

The owners of the Warragoon property, Deborah and Andrew Lee, already operate a 30 animal breeding facility at their property on Birganbigil Rd and say they do it for “a passion of breeding dogs and supplying wonderful family pets that are well socialised".

Mr Lee and another co-owner, Mark Crevatin, were named on documents submitted in the original DA.

Mrs Lee said they are “pretty pleased” with the approval.

“We worked with the council and addressed any concerns that they had,” she said.

The business owners are required to meet legal parameters for mitigating noise and other factors of the facility, which they have done.

“The concerns that were raised by immediate neighbours were mainly about noise, so we moved the building (to house the dogs) further away from them to lessen the impact,” said Mrs Lee, who stressed they “do things ethically” as long-time dog breeders.

“They (the dogs) are all kept in very good conditions,” she said.

Councillor Harold Clapham voted in favour of the development, arguing local government should not cherry pick which businesses are started in Edward River, as long as they follow procedure.

“I absolutely respect that position (from Cr Fogarty), and I think they’re issues all thinking people struggle with,” Cr Clapham said.

“There are many things I disagree with vehemently - I would (consider) poker machines and gambling as a much greater risk to the community than dog breeding.

“I think we can’t be ‘open for business’ on the basis that we choose which businesses we’re open to.

“If you comply with all the rules and stipulations, we as a council will support you to run your business and pursue your livelihood,” Cr Clapham said.