Gorham residents speak out on dog breeding facility; approval nullified for now

Gorham residents speak out on dog breeding facility; approval nullified for now February 8, 2012
Site in Gorham, NY of the proposed large scale, wholesale dog breeding facility.

The Gorham Town Board opened their meeting tonight to comments from residents about the dog breeding facility proposed by Curtis and Jolene Martin. The board initially approved a special use permit last week for the couple, who currently own a commercial dog breeding facility in Seneca County. The residents and animal welfare activists from around the area responded to the news with an uproar of protests, sharing their thoughts in emails, phone calls, and across the internet.

According to MPNnow.com, 400 people attended the meeting, and 33 people spoke. But first, Gorham Town Supervisor Fred Lightfoote opened the meeting with a stern warning to those in attendance that disrespect would not be tolerated, and that law enforcement was onhand to maintain order.

He then went on to say that while initial approval was given for the project, that approval has been nullifed, and must go before the Ontario County Planning Board. In essence, that means the Martin’s proposal is halted for the time being, and any decisions by the board will  likely affect not only this project but future similar projects.

I caught the Channel 10 report on the 11 PM news, where several residents spoke out against the facility and expressed concerns about noise, waste, and animal cruelty. One man remarked that residents didn’t participate in their local government budget meetings but now showed up for the dog breeding issue. “We’re more concerned about these dogs than we are surviving,” he said.

Town Board President Debbie North also commented on the number of unkind postings and libelous statements online.

For now, it looks like the residents and Town Board can take a breath while they step back to consider the wholesale dog breeding facility in light of USDA reports, information about the problem with puppy mills or commerical dog breeding issues, and what is best for the residents of their community on both sides of the issue.

And while we’re at it, the Town Board of Gorham, along with Supervisor Lightfoote and his staff, deserve a huge thank you for taking this issue seriously, and for being patient with the torrent of feedback. It can’t have been easy to have been in the national spotlight this week, or quite frankly in the crosshairs of some animal welfare advocates. They’ve been gracious and willing to hear what residents have to say.


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