Jackie Schultz has been around animals all her life, has volunteered with animal rescue groups, fostered dogs and cats and is a pet sitter. And she has her own animals.
“Many, many people and friends of friends are pretty much consistently requesting I take care of their animals for them when they go away,” Schultz said. “So, it’s gotten to the point where I would love to do more, but I don’t have the space.”
She got to the place “where I want to make this my world,” she said.
Schultz has filed an application for a conditional-use permit with the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission to allow a dog and cat kennel/boarding facility, called My Dawg Furbaby Vacation, on nearly 5 acres at 5588 Rogers Road in Lizella. The property, which is in an agricultural district, is owned by her mother and she and Schultz have houses on the site. It would offer daycare and overnight boarding accommodations as well as grooming and bathing.
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It would be open by appointment only and would be staffed 24/7 since she lives on the property. “Someone would always be there,” she said, but it would not be a retail operation for walk-in customers. She would have one other employee.
She plans to build a barn-style facility between her house and her mother’s house, initially with 10 individual suites with mini-yards, “allowing for up to two large dogs as many clients have more than one dog per family,” she said in her application. The suites, with walls not cages, would be on each side of the building with the center area of the facility housing an indoor play area “with ample space for lounging on mats, turf, couches/chairs” and the dogs can move from indoors to outdoors when they want.
“They are with me at home,” Schultz said about pet sitting other dogs. “They are allowed on the furniture. ... I want it to be like a home.”
The cage-free facility will allow all types of breeds, sizes and temperaments of dogs as it will “be able to accommodate for less-friendly personalities,” the application said.
But, while these dogs would not be allowed to mingle with more friendly dogs, they would still get the same attention from humans and not be lonely, she said.
Cameras would be installed, not only for security purposes, but also as a goal to allow clients to see their pets from their phone or computer.
The application is expected to be addressed at the zoning commission’s Dec. 10 meeting. If approved, Schultz said she would have to be licensed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. She hopes to have everything completed so construction could begin by March. The cat quarters would likely be completed closer to the end of next year, she said.
Schultz said word-of-mouth, friends and rescue partnerships has “already overwhelmed” her with requests for boarding and daily care “so this facility is well overdue.”