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    Greyhound Racing GREYHOUND ZONING
    Posted byadmin on Friday, May 22 @ 17:59:00 EDT
    Contributed by admin

    May 21, 2009

    Dubuque County Board of Adjustments

                Re:       Zoning for Greyhound breeding farms

    To Whom It May Concern:


                It has come to my attention that the Dubuque County Zoning Administrator has, on the apparent advice of a 2003 legal opinion from the County Attorney, taken the position that a Greyhound breeding farm is not, in fact, a farm and instead should be treated for zoning purposes like a bowling alley, a hospital, a funeral home, and a manufacturing processing plant.  More specifically, the Zoning Administrator is seeking to take enforcement action against Greyhound farms under the erroneous assumption that such farms are not permissible uses in an A-1 zoning district and are only allowed in M-2, heavy industrial zoning districts.  If this position sounds illogical, it should because it is arbitrary, inconsistent with the express terms of the zoning ordinances and defies common sense.
                A Greyhound breeding farm, like the one operated by Dan Zenner, is a permissible use in A-1 zoning.  Zoning Ordinance § 1-15.2(a) defines the various uses deemed acceptable in an Agricultural District.  Specifically, 1-15.2(20) provides kennels are a permissible use so long as: (a) All kennels … shall be subject to all requirements of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and the Code of Iowa; (b) all open kennels shall be kept at a minimum of 500 feet from any residential use; and (c) no kennel shall be allowed to harbor … any animal used solely for attack purposes nor any animal not normally associated with domestic enjoyment.  A greyhound breeding farm meets every aspect of this Ordinance.

                Greyhound breeding farms are fully regulated under chapter 162 of the Code of Iowa and are subject to licensure and inspection by the Iowa Department of Agriculture.  Specifically, the requirements of IAC § 21-67 applicable to the animal welfare requirements of a dog kennel operation apply equally to a greyhound farm as they do to a facility for any other breed of dog.  Moreover, greyhounds bred in Iowa are also subject to the requirements of IAC § 21-62 which govern the registration of these dogs in Iowa. 

                As for the minimum distance requirement of the Ordinance, the requirement is self explanatory.  As it relates to Dan Zenner’s farm in particular, there has been no assertion that his operation runs afoul of this requirement.

                Finally, greyhounds are a breed normally associated with domestic enjoyment.  “Domestic animals” are defined as animals that “are habituated to live in or about the habitation of men, or such as contribute to the support of a family or the wealth of the community.”  Black’s Law Dictionary, 4th Edition.  Greyhound’s meet this definition in every respect. 

    As a breed, greyhounds are recognized by the American kennel Club (AKC) in the “hound group” and were one of the first breeds recorded at American dog shows.  The bred is one of the most ancient known to man and can be traced to almost every country on every continent on the globe.  The breed has a prestigious history in the United States to include being the breed of dog often to accompany George Washington.  Today – according to the AKC – the breed’s most valued trait is companionship because it is a lovely dog with a lively personality[1]

    Not only are greyhounds “habituated to live in or about the habitation of men” but they also contribute to the support of the family and wealth of the community.  The greyhound breed has a proud tradition in Iowa.  Currently, the Department of Agriculture reports that Iowa is the number two State in the nation for the breeding of greyhounds.  Moreover, the breeding, raising and racing of greyhounds in the State of Iowa is estimated to have an economic impact of $40,000,000 annually to our State economy.  As such, greyhounds meet the definition of a domestic breed in every respect.

    It appears that the County Attorney’s opinion that has created the proposed arbitrary treatment of a greyhound breeding farm as separate and distinct from all other kennel operations housing other domestic breeds was authored in 2003 and was predicated on “the information provided to us.”  (See July 10, 2003 letter from Assistant County Attorney Lyle Galliart to Anna O’Shea).  It appears the County Attorney was provided with incomplete or inaccurate information.  
    Greyhound farms are a part of Iowa’s proud agricultural tradition.  An arbitrary effort to treat them as akin to bowling alleys in Dubuque County flies in the face of that rich tradition and is inconsistent with the facts as applied to the Zoning Ordinance and, as such, must be rejected.


    Jim Quilty

    PS. This may come in handy for someone out there 

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