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Dog facility debate in Lackawanna County

A nonprofit has proposed plans to build a place in Greenfield Township to turn rescue dogs into therapy dogs.

GREENFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A project has been in the works for some time to house more than a dozen dogs in the Greenfield Township facility with about six employees.  

According to the township solicitor, the property is zoned for residential and agricultural use; a dog kennel didn't fit the parameters, so the nonprofit filed for a permit. It was denied back in March.  

Now two months later, the organization known as 'Bianca's Furget Me Not K9 Haven', is making a plea again for supervisors to move the project forward.

This brings us to Wednesday's zoning hearing where there was additional pushback from some residents against the project.

Greenfield Township supervisors and residents listened to John Marino talk about the plans for Bianca's Furget Me Not K9 Haven.

This hearing was to present information for a conditional use permit.

The nonprofit currently has 30 acres of donated land with the hopes of building an 8,000-square-foot facility to take rescue dogs and train them to become therapy dogs. 

This rescue is in honor of Marino's daughter, Bianca, who died four years ago. This was something she always wanted to do but the property isn't zoned for it.

Residents filled the township building to express concerns about potential noise from barking dogs and how the facility would affect the sewer system which has had problems in the past.  

Marino says, "So dog waste will be held on-site and be removed so will not be going into the sewer system. We only have two bathrooms. So there's only two toilets that will be injecting into the sewer system. We can't inject anywhere else because the sewer authority will not let us eject anywhere else. So we have to tie into the system with our two toilets."

George Compton lives next to the property.  Compton's lawyer, Paul LaBelle says his client worries about how it will affect his quarry business.

"There's explosions that take place when they loosen rock and he didn't want them getting into something that might affect the animals or may affect the veterans or anybody else that would come to the facility," says Labelle.

Residents were able to ask questions and voice their concerns during the meeting. Some still have reservations.

"We can't know how the facility is going to operate completely. All we know is what their proposal is."

"We're going to address all their concerns. We're going to make sure that we have sound barriers in place dogs will be inside and they will not be a burden upon this community and will be actually an asset," says Marino.

Township supervisors have 60 days to make a decision.

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