Houston County rejects request for dog foster home

wcrenshaw@macon.comJuly 1, 2014 

PERRY -- A Houston County couple fostering rescued schnauzers at their home will have to downsize their efforts.

County commissioners on Tuesday denied the couple’s request to keep up to 12 dogs in their home at Valley Lake Drive. Milton and Sheri Goldin are part of Schnauzer Love Rescue, a group that finds homes for abandoned and unwanted miniature schnauzers.

After getting a complaint from a neighbor about the barking, Animal Control issued a warning June 11 that the couple needed to remove some of their dogs. The county allows a maximum of three.

That’s when the Goldins filed for a exception to have up to 12 dogs. Milton Goldin said they keep the dogs inside most of the time and have been using ultrasonic devices to control barking.

“I’m willing to do whatever it takes,” he said. “I sincerely believe we can and we will eliminate, to a reasonable level, any nuisance barking.”

For the past 17 months, he said, they have had six to 11 dogs at any given time, and this is the first time anyone has complained.

Two of his neighbors told commissioners they oppose allowing the couple to keep more than three dogs. They said the barking is a nuisance. Jeff Kipa said he circulated a petition against the county granting the couple an exception to 17 neighbors. All but one signed it, he said.

“When you think of that number of dogs, absolutely you think of the welfare (of the dogs), you think of the noise pollution, even the odors,” he said.

Commissioner Gail Robinson made a compromise motion that would have allowed the couple to have up to six dogs, but it failed to get a second. The board then voted 3-1, with Robinson opposing, to deny the exception. Commissioners have given the couple 60 days to find homes for the dogs they now have.

Robinson said that because the dogs are small, she thought the county could allow them to keep up to six dogs.

Commissioners said they appreciate what the Goldins are doing, but they shouldn’t be doing it in a residential neighborhood.

“In a residential area, I don’t believe there’s any place for anyone to have more than three dogs at one time,” Commissioner Tom McMichael said.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, 256-9725.

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