Unlicensed Evansville Dog Kennel Causing Problems for Neighbors

Some community members have been filing complaints about a dog kennel opening up in the neighborhood -- without a permit -- and after months of living next to it, one neighbor is ready to see the county take action.

Posted: Sep 17, 2021 12:37 AM
Updated: Sep 17, 2021 8:45 AM

John Garlet has lived in his Evansville home since 1976, worry-free for decades, but lately, problems have been adding up.

Back in June, Garlet filed his first complaint with the Vanderburgh County Area Plan Commission about a dog kennel opening up in the old auction house next door on Heidelbach Avenue.

"[A] dog came out of that door, ran over there under that fence and jumped at me," Garlet said gesturing to a tall chain-link fence next to his house. "I was standing there and there was no doubt if that fence hadn't been there that dog would have eaten me alive."

Garlet's house sits on Iowa Street. There's an empty fenced-in lot separating him from the kennel property, but the dogs have access to that lot.

As time went by more concerns were raised. Garlet's wife shared photos of other dogs getting too close for comfort, including one she said would scratch under the fence.

Garlet said the kennel owners eventually removed the vicious dog that nearly jumped the fence, but he also said the dogs are barely let out anymore, changing the reasoning behind his complaints.

"To me, it just seems they don't care about the dogs," Garlet said. "Dogs need more running space, they need food, water, they need to get out and get fresh air and run, exercise and they're not doing any of that."

Garlet walked 44News over to the kennel Wednesday to see if one of the owners would talk, but no one answered the door.

The next day, however, roughly half a dozen dogs were outside in the yard and someone was willing to speak.

"The dogs are well taken care of, none of them are skinny -- you can see they're all eating good," Lawrence Pennington said, one of the kennel owners. "No aggressiveness going on, nobody's getting out so I don't get why people keep complaining."

Pennington and his business partner even gave 44News a look inside the kennel. It was a wide-open warehouse space with individual crates and pens for the dogs.

Garlet and his wife filed seven complaints between June 5 and July 12. That entire time, the kennel was operating without approval from the county.

"The permit, yeah we were learning and we went," Pennington said. "Me and my business partner had some dogs and the kennel was just something that we wanted to do."

Records show, Pennington's business partner only applied for a special use permit on July 26. The petition was supposed to be heard by the Board of Zoning appeals Thursday, but the kennel owners failed to submit the necessary paperwork beforehand.

"We brought the paperwork in thinking we were supposed to turn it in at the actual petition meeting," Pennington said.

The petition, which is filed under his business partner's name, was one of two appeals not read at the meeting. It was issued a continuance and pushed to the board's next meeting in October.

"It's turned in now," Pennington said. "Next month we'll be there."

It's a learning curve for the kennel owners, but disappointing news for Garlet and his wife because it's another month they said they have to deal with the situation.

But even so, when the board finally votes, Garlet is certain his complaints will pay off.

"They haven't got a chance," he said. "They never will get a chance to zone it for that."

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It was another chilly start across the Tri-State; while we only dipped as low as 43° in Evansville, many others across the Tri-State fell into the upper 30s earlier this morning. The cool air didn't linger long however, temperatures quickly reached back into the mid 70s across the region this afternoon - higher pressure camped out over the southeastern quarter of the country will continue to keep the skies above the Tri-State clear while gradually driving temperatures higher over the next few days. Despite our anticipated southerly winds this evening, you may still want to grab a jacket before your head out to dinner; after seeing a temperature near 64° around dinnertime, we'll fall off toward the mid to upper 50s by 10 o'clock. Overnight lows will again dwindle into the mid to low 40s for the majority of the Ohio Valley early Tuesday morning.
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