Lee Co. zoning dispute puts animal rescue operation in danger - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lee Co. zoning dispute puts animal rescue operation in danger

LEE CO., GA (WALB) -

A zoning dispute in Lee County has one woman worried her dog rescue operation will be shut down. For more than five years, she's cared for dozens of dogs, but residents in her neighborhood say they're a nuisance.

Lee County resident Kim Terrell loves her dogs and couldn't imagine life without her rescue operation.

"This is their last stop. I'm the place that rescues call to ask to save them before they kill them," said Terrell.

In 2006, Kim Terrell and her husband bought a house in Lee County, and that's when she started her rescue operation. She works with several area humane societies, but is now worried her dogs will be taken away, or even euthanized over a zoning dispute.

"When we bought, we didn't rezone it. This is the whole issue, when we brought this land it was agriculture," said Terrell.

But residents in the neighborhood say her dogs are a problem. They are unable to sell homes and believe is making their property value drop.

"This is a residential area with children and families who moved 10 miles outside of Leesburg to have nice large lots with quiet surroundings, to be in the county and not have dogs barking all day and night," said Merritt.

Terrell says that not the case and has video to prove it.

"The dogs do not bark 24-7. We even have security cameras and night vision security camera's to prove that the dogs do not bark," said Terrell.

Neighbors also say they have video to prove the dogs bark all the time. Both sides plan to voice their opinion an upcoming Lee County Commission meeting.

"We don't want the dogs' euthanized or hurt. We just think they need to be relocated to a non residential area," said Merritt.

Kim Terrell and her husband say they don't want to have to give up their home, or shut down the rescue operation.

"We didn't come out here to stir up any controversy. This is my wife labor of love and I'm a support factor," said Wes Terrell.

Terrell says she is always working to find good homes for the dogs.

Both sides have obtained lawyers in the zoning dispute.

Terrell says she has paperwork stating her home is on agriculture land and it is okay for her to care for the dogs without a kennel license. Neighbors say the whole neighborhood has always been residential before the Terrell's moved in.

The Lee County Commission meeting is Tuesday at 6pm.

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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