SPRING GREEN, Wis. (WMTV) -- Animal advocates in the area are calling for change, after news of a possible dog breeding facility in the Spring Green area.
NBC15 News has received calls, emails and social media posts from concerned viewers about the facility. Our crews worked to find out what exactly a dog breeding facility would entail, and how the area could be affected.
“Dogs are family pets. Most people don't want to see dogs experimented on,” says Rebekah Klemm, dog advocate and founder of the Dane4Dogs organization. "These dogs are being bred solely for profit. There's no, they aren't going to loving families, they aren't going to great homes. They're going to be experimented on."
The Kane family, who applied to open the dog-breeding facility, released a statement July 1 in response to concern from some in the community.
We have gone through all the proper legal channels to acquire conditional use kennel permits. All the permit requests have gone before the appropriate committees and boards that include time for public comment. Our payment of a $500 filing fee for each permit request ensures that proper public notice is given and heard in front of the appropriate committees and boards. We welcome last Wednesday’s unanimous decision by the Plan Commission and JEZC to allow us time to address the potential noise concerns raised by the community and to give board members time to do their own investigation and research.
The Kane family also said in the statement that they maintain rigorous animal care practices and standards, saying "Our facility and animal welfare practices have been inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). We were found to be in compliance with all humane standards set forth in the Animal Welfare Act."
The ball got rolling at a Town of Spring Green Plan Commission meeting on May 14, when the board approved a permit for an “establishment of a kennel in an agriculture building.” Klemm says the item was misleading, and that some are working to revoke that passage.
"We've heard from the town board members who approved that conditional use permit, that they did not know they were approving a research puppy mill. They thought it was a dog boarding kennel,” says Klemm.
The process picked up speed at a Village of Spring Green Plan Commission and Joint Extraterritorial Zoning Committee meeting on June 19. That’s when the family requested “commercial kennel and dog boarding.”
Committee Chairperson Joel Marcus says he thought the item was “routine,” for a family hoping to breed puppies. He tells NBC15 news he was “blindsided” when he says, he was told the family was asking to breed puppies on their property, and eventually transfer them to a larger, medical testing facility.
The item did not pass the Village of Spring Green board last week. It was tabled for a future meeting, set for July 17th. Board members say they need more time to research regulations and legalities.
Marcus told our crews via phone, “We thoroughly discussed [the item]. We were not comfortable with rules and procedure, and needed more time.”
“In the case of a research puppy mill, you're talking about dogs who literally never get outside for what they'll call 'bio-security reasons.’” Klemm says. “This is because they say these dogs can't go outside because they'll be sold for research."
The potential dog breeders are looking for both Town of Spring Green, and Village of Spring Green approval, for two separate properties.
If the item passes the Village of Spring Green Plan Commission and Joint Extraterritorial Zoning Committee next month, it will still need a green light from the Sauk County Land Resources and Environment Board. The next meeting is set for July 23.
NBC15 News reached out to the people who want to start the facility via phone, online, and knocked on their door. So far, the family has not responded.