Supervisors to decide on fate of burned down kennel

FRONT ROYAL – The Board of Supervisors will decide at its 7 p.m. meeting tonight whether a dog kennel that burned down last year should continue operating.

The Warren County Planning Commission forwarded a recommendation to the supervisors that the board should grant a continuance for the conditional use permit of Wendy Tenney’s kennel at 63 Limeton Church Road.

There has been a long review process of the kennel, and the Planning Commission previously recommended that the supervisors not grant a continuance. Upon receiving that recommendation in November 2017, the supervisors sent the matter back to the Planning Commission for further review.

Commissioner Hugh Henry said he voted in favor of allowing the kennel to continue operations because of updated business and building plans. Those updated plans include fire preventative measures such as extinguishers, security cameras, and smoke alarms.

More than 12 Australian shepherds died in a March 2017 fire at the kennel, which Animal Control officers said they believed to have been caused by a space heater with frayed wiring. Paul Neal, Tenney’s lawyer, however, said “there was an occasion when a “frayed wire’ was seen on the Tenney property, but it was outside of the building and was a piece of an extension cord that lost a battle with a weed-eater.”

Neal said a ceramic space heater was in the kennel on the night of the fire, but “it was elevated, placed on top of an empty kennel.” He said the heater’s filter was routinely cleaned and the cord was not damaged.

He added that this was long before the fire, and it was thrown away.

Since the fire, Tenney has operated the kennel in a temporary structure at the same location and plans to construct a permanent building.

If the supervisors allow the kennel to continue operations, Tenney would have until Sept. 1 to meet all of the conditional use permit conditions.