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McDuffee Puppymill Update!!
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Feb 08, 2007 at 01:57
McDuffee Puppymill Update!!
Source: Brainerd Dispatch - Feb 7, 2007
Update posted on Feb 8, 2007 - 1:33AM
The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that the county board didn't follow correct procedure when it issued an amended conditional use permit to Gary McDuffee to operate a 600-dog breeding operation.
The court reversed the county board's earlier decision and remanded the issue to the county board for reconsideration of McDuffee's conditional use permit.
"We are pleased with the ruling from the Court of Appeals, with the court having quite clearly stated the county acted in an unreasonable way," said Timothy Shields, general counsel to the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies, which along with two neighbors of the dog breeding operation, Roger and Deborah Nelson, appealed the county board's decision to grant a conditional use permit.
"They acted in an arbitrary fashion in issuing the CUP, more specifically, because they failed to properly consider the possible animal neglect this CUP could cause," Shields added.
Marshall H. Tanick, the Minneapolis-based attorney representing the Nelsons, also said he was pleased with the decision because it addressed two of his client's concerns - environmental issues and animal cruelty.
"We hope the county board will pay heed to the strong statement from the Court of Appeals and deny this puppy mill so it will be closed down for benefit of the environment and for benefit of the dogs."
In late 2005, McDuffee, who for several years had owned a dog breeding site in Cushing Township, purchased about 40 acres north of Little Falls for his operation. In November of 2005 he applied for a conditional use permit, indicating he planned to sell puppies to pet stores and he would have two to three full-time employees. He also indicated all adult dogs would have their vocal cords removed to alleviate noise.
On Jan. 10, 2006, the county board approved the conditional use permit with the conditions that a privacy fence be installed on one side of the property, that there be a cap of 600 adult breeding dogs and that all dogs kept outside be debarked.
On Feb. 7, 2006, the county board learned from staffers that new information was received showing McDuffee had violated USDA license standards at his previous operation and that correspondence was received by the county opposed to debarking.
Morrison County staffers wrote a letter to McDuffee encouraging the use of shock collars to control barking rather than removing the dogs' vocal cords. The letter also reminded McDuffee that he must maintain a USDA license and comply with all requirements.
At that point the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies and Roger and Deborah Nelson, filed lawsuits appealing the county board's decision to grant a conditional use permit.
The Court of Appeals agreed, in part, with the humane society and the Nelsons, stating that the decision of the county board to include limited debarking conditions, based on the scarcity of information provided before Jan. 10, 2006, was arbitrary and capricious; and that the alteration of the conditional use permit, based on the consideration of late-arriving information on debarking, didn't follow the correct procedure for issuance of an amended conditional use permit.
McDuffee's attorney, Little Falls-based Douglas P. Anderson, said issues brought up in the lawsuit, specifically debarking and environmental concerns, have been addressed. None of McDuffee's dogs have been debarked, he said, and to alleviate noise concerns none of the dogs are allowed outside but kept in the sound-proofed building. Also, the waste collected by the dogs is not stored on site but removed daily or every two days, he added.
Shields said McDuffee's operation was the only one in Minnesota he knew of that didn't allow the dogs outside. He said that fact concerns the humane society because there could be a lack of exercise for the dogs.
McDuffee doesn't have to re-apply for a conditional use permit, Morrison County Administrator Tim Houle said. The county has 60 days to reconsider his permit and in that time public hearings will be conducted to allow all sides to present their arguments.
Houle said it was never the county's job to decide if dog breeding operations were a good or bad thing. It was the county's job, he said, to decide the issues of the conditional use permit. In that role, the county has had to act as a referee between all sides involved, he added.
Houle also said he doubted McDuffee's operation would be shut down while the matter of his conditional use permit is settled by the county.
Feb 08, 2007 at 02:36
Morrison County Record Article
You can submit your comments at the bottom of the article... please do
Dog-breeding kennel's future in question
The community's barking has been heard.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals issued its decision Tuesday to throw out the Morrison County Board's decision to grant a conditional use permit (CUP) to Gary McDuffee for a dog-breeding facility located in Belle Prairie Township.
The court's decision focused on McDuffee's "debarking" plans, in which the adult breeding dogs' vocal cords would be surgically removed.
The county's approval of the CUP in January of last year was on the condition that all dogs allowed outdoors be surgically silenced.
"We've been saying all along that we wanted the courts to take a look at the county's decision," County Administrator Tim Houle said. "It's clear that they would like the board to take another look at the situation."
"Arbitrary" and "capricious" were the terms used by the court to describe the board's decision.
Roger and Debbie Nelson, neighbors of the kennel in question, filed suit against McDuffee and Morrison County, citing that the county failed to require an Environmental Assessment Worksheet for the proposed kennel.
The Nelsons were soon joined in their protest by the Minnesota Federated Humane Society (MFHS), and concern surrounded McDuffee's ability to provide adequate food, water, shelter and exercise for the animals.
The court's decision shows the state's concern as well, MFHS attorney Tim Shields said.
"We are very pleased with the decision," Shields said. "The court filed a 23-page decision which shows the court was very well-versed in the matter."
The court's decision forces the county to reconsider its position on granting a CUP to McDuffee.
After granting the permit, the county board halted issuances of CUPs for dog-breeding kennels because of community, state-wide and national outcries.
The board must decide if McDuffee should receive a new hearing because his CUP request came before the moratorium, Houle said.
McDuffee, who refused comment on the matter, reserves the right to appeal the court's decision.
Feb 08, 2007 at 02:50
Star Tribune Article
Debarking issue clouds Little Falls kennel's future
Court of Appeals overturns permit to house 600 dogs in Morrison County; cutting of vocal cords is a concern.
By Rochelle Olson, Star Tribune
Last update: February 06, 2007 – 11:56 PM
The future of a controversial Morrison County kennel is in doubt because of a court ruling raising questions about a procedure that "debarks" dogs by surgically silencing their vocal cords.
Writing for a three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Judge R.A. Randall threw out the County Board's conditional-use permit issued to Gary McDuffee. He wants to operate a dog-breeding facility for up to 600 adult breeding dogs and an unlimited number of puppies and nonbreeding dogs. The county will have to decide whether to reconsider and reissue the permit. If the county reconsiders, noise and barking will be an issue.
McDuffee was granted a conditional-use permit for the kennel, just east of Little Falls in Belle Plaine Township, in January 2006 on the condition that all dogs with access to the outdoors be surgically debarked.
"McDuffee claims [the law] supports his argument that severing a dog's vocal cords is not permanent," Randall wrote. "Our answer is, McDuffee will be entitled to produce evidence on this point."
When the County Board made its decision, it lacked information about opposition to surgical debarking, according to the court's opinion. The court called the board's decision to issue a permit arbitrary and capricious.
"In light of this information, it is apparent that issues of animal welfare must be addressed," Randall wrote in telling the board to reconsider.
Neighbors, later joined by the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies (MFHS), sued the board last year, claiming that another kennel operated by McDuffee had complaints about sick and injured animals as well as bad living conditions.
"It's not illegal to breed dogs in Minnesota, and we've never claimed it is," said Tim Shields, lawyer for MFHS. "But you have to do it in a way that treats the animals with the care and respect they deserve, and this proposal did not do that."
Douglas Anderson, who represents McDuffee, said his client now has 200 dogs at the kennel and none is debarked. Rather than debarking them, he said his client has insulated his buildings and will keep the dogs indoors.
It's now up to the County Board to decide whether to reschedule a hearing on the request for a permit.
After granting McDuffee's permit, the board stopped issuing conditional-use permits to would-be kennel operators because of a nationwide Internet uproar over the kennel.
County Administrator Tim Houle said the board must decide whether McDuffee should get a new hearing because his permit request predated the moratorium, or if he falls under the moratorium. Houle said he leaned toward the former. But he said the board will need time to study the matter.
Absent an appeal, McDuffee will soon need a permit to operate.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747 • firstname.lastname@example.org
| E Gang
Feb 08, 2007 at 03:28
Re: McDuffee Puppymill Update!!
Wish someone would sever McDuffee's vocal chords and the rest of him. Thank you for update Theo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Feb 08, 2007 at 03:39
St Cloud Times
Morrison to review kennel
Court of Appeals: County did not take ‘hard look’ at plan to breed 600 dogs
By David Unze and Kirsti Marohn email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: February 07. 2007 12:30AM - Last updated: February 07. 2007 12:31AM
The Morrison County Board of Commissioners will get a second chance to decide whether to grant a permit to a man who wants to breed 600 dogs at a kennel in Belle Prairie Township.
The board already has granted a permit for Gary McDuffee to operate a dog-breeding operation. But a decision Tuesday by the state Court of Appeals sends the case back to the county board for reconsideration.
The Court of Appeals, in a decision written by Judge R.A. “Jim” Randall, said the county board didn’t take enough of a “hard look” at all the factors involved in deciding whether to grant the permit to McDuffee. Two neighbors and the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies asked the Court of Appeals to review the decision to grant McDuffee the permit.
Their challenges focused on the noise, traffic and environmental effects the dog-breeding operation would have on surrounding areas. It also questioned the process of debarking or using shock collars to quiet the dogs that would be allowed to exercise outside.
Phone messages left Tuesday with McDuffee and one of his attorneys were not immediately returned to the St. Cloud Times.
“From an animal-cruelty standpoint, we won,” said Tim Shields, an attorney representing the animal rights group. “We’re quite pleased, and we think it’s a good day for animals in Minnesota.”
McDuffee can apply again for a permit. The county board will hold a public hearing before reconsidering any permit request from McDuffee, Morrison County Administrator Tim Houle said.
The Court of Appeals ruling said the county board can consider numerous pieces of information that flooded in after the board approved McDuffee’s permit the first time.
“We think all the issues are in play,” said Marshall Tanick, the attorney representing landowners who live near McDuffee.
The county received calls and e-mails from across the nation complaining that debarking is cruel, and that the kennel previously owned by McDuffee and his ex-wife had been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for license violations.
“There’s no question that the county board would have enjoyed the benefit of that information if they’d had it before they made the decision,” Houle said.
County commissioners were reluctant to reverse their decision because they feared they would be held liable by McDuffee, who had already started making investments in the property.
The appeals court’s decision gives the county the chance to reconsider without that worry, Houle said.
“Everybody with an opinion will be able to get that opinion heard and taken into consideration,” Houle said. What the board will decide, he said, “remains to be seen.”
“We will scrutinize very closely any actions, any proposals by Mr. McDuffee for a conditional use permit,” Shields said. “And we’ll scrutinize any actions by the county to grant a conditional use permit.”
St Cloud Times
Feb 08, 2007 at 03:47
St Cloud Times Comments
If you go to the following link you can read the comments to the article. Don't forget to leave YOUR comment, but keep it clean, nasty stuff will backfire!
Feb 08, 2007 at 04:33
Re: St Cloud Times Comments
MN Dog and Cat Breeders Act Aims to Regulate Breeders
Print This Article
[Wednesday, January 24, 2007]
Minnesota Senate Bill 121, known as the Dog and Cat Breeders Bill, has been introduced by Senators Betzold and Koering.
It seeks to establish breeder licensing, inspection of all "kennels", and unproven care standards. If passed and signed into law, the changes imposed by this bill would have a profound impact on dog breeders in Minnesota.
It is imperative that breeders and concerned dog owners contact their senator and the committee chairman to express their opposition.
To read the rest, go to the link
Feb 08, 2007 at 04:39
Should be AKC MN Dog and Cat Breeders Act
|Sue & Booker
Feb 08, 2007 at 10:18
Re: McDuffee Puppymill Update!!
Sometimes it takes a while (like a year in this case), but speaking out really does work!
|john / irene Maxwell
Feb 08, 2007 at 11:17
Re: McDuffee Puppymill Update!!
Hope he is shut down forever
john / irene Maxwell