Starke County Commissioners Fail to Approve Dog Kennel Ordinance

Starke County Commissioners ( L to R ) Kathy Norem, Dan Bridegroom, Jennifer Davis

Starke County Commission President, Dan Bridegroom, said that the County might be back to square one this week after a dog kennel ordinance failed to gain approval for the third time.

Over 60 dog owners crowded into the County Annex building Monday night to disagree with many aspects of the proposed ordinance that was being presented by Administrator/Building Inspector, Bruce Williams.

After an hour of discussion and comments from the audience, the Commissioners, on a motion by Kathy Norem and seconded by Jennifer Davis, voted to deny the ordinance as presented, and sent it back to the Plan Commission.

Bridegroom, who sits on the Plan Commission said the ordinance has been “tweaked” so many times they might just have to start over. Kathy Norem, who has been against portions of the ordinance, said she could eventually vote for one, but not the ordinance that was on the table.

“I probably wouldn’t have too much trouble passing this ordinance if some of these things were changed that we asked about the last time,” said Norem. “The things that we had asked about and asked to be taken back to the Plan Commission were not. When some of the people in this room were calling me, it was interesting to note that they felt as though their issues and concerns didn’t matter, that it was cut and dry deal, and the comment was made by Board members that we only have to get two Commissioners to agree to this anyway.”

Planning Commission attorney, Steve Dodge, said he didn’t know where that comment came from.

Commissioner Norem asked the 60 people concerned about ordinance if they could form a committee and attend the next Planning Commission meeting to help explain their concerns. It remains to be seen how much more time the Commission wants to spend on this matter.