Kennel permit granted

WESTFIELD – The city’s planning board granted a residential kennel permit to a Granville Road resident after a public hearing Tuesday evening.
Brenda Coggin, of 1008 Granville Road, had applied for a special permit in July about two weeks after nine of her pedigreed Australian shepherd dogs died in their kennel, apparently because an air conditioner failed during a heat wave.
The deaths were investigated by city animal control officials with assistance from  MSPCA investigators and preliminary reports found the deaths to be accidental.
City ordinances allow residents to keep no more than three dogs by right and require a residential kennel license to keep as many as nine adult dogs.
Keepers of more than nine dogs are required to have a commercial kennel license.
Coggin’s Granville Road property, known as Coggin Creek Stables, covers 25.1 acres and is zoned rural residential.
In her application for the special permit, Coggin reported that the property currently is used for farming and that she boards horse and provides riding lessons.
She said that she raises “a few litters of puppies a year – Australian shepherds.”
Coggin said that she has been a breeder of Australian Shepherd dogs for six years and averages two litters per year.
Puppies younger than six months of age are not counted when considering the number of dogs kept by a resident.
The application states that the majority of the land that abuts her property is protected woodland and she states “My dogs are in my house or in my fenced in backyard. The front portion of my property – where most of my abutters are is where the horses are kept.”
During the hearing, members of the planning board advised Coggin of the kennel requirements should additional dogs be housed outside of her residence.
However, Kenneth Frazer, the city’s director of animal control operations, spoke in support of her application and informed the board that Coggin already has suitable structures in place to house dogs.
In addition to Frazer, three persons spoke in support of Coggin’s special application.
Her supporters told the board that they had purchased puppies from Coggin and were impressed by their quality. One of the speakers said that he has received compliments from his veterinarian about his dog.
Nobody spoke in opposition to the application.
Jay Vinskey, the city’s principal planner, recommended that the permit, if granted, be non-transferable and that condition was adopted by the seven member board when they unanimously approved the permit
Coggin was assisted in her application by the Springfield law firm of Katz, Argenio and Powers and was represented at the hearing by Thomas E. Argenio.
However, there are still a couple of hurdles to overcome before the city clerk can issue Coggin a kennel license.
Persons who may want to appeal the planning board’s decision will have 20 days to file an objection so Coggin will have to wait for that period to expire.
In addition, she will also have to acquire a business certificate.
In a brief telephone interview Wednesday she said that her lawyer has not mentioned such a certificate but said that she already has a business license for her stable so she will either amend that or, if necessary, will secure a separate certificate.
In addition, her premises will have to be inspected and approved by the city’s director of animal control operations but Frazer said Wednesday that he does not expect that to be a problem as he is familiar with her operation.

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