The neighbors of a Buxton woman applying for kennel permit remained unconvinced she wouldn’t breed her dogs commercially after the Planning Board did a site walk at her home Monday.

Gloria Steiger has maintained that she just wants to keep her nine dogs as pets. She is applying for a kennel permit because, with more than six dogs, she is required to under an ordinance passed earlier this year after the state raided the J’Aime Kennels in Buxton and seized some 250 sick and mistreated dogs in late 2007.

Steiger would not allow neighbors onto her property at 33 Lord Road Monday as the Planning Board toured it and answered the questions of concerned neighbors.

“If she wants to have this for personal pets, then I have no problems,” abutter Tim Lauzon said to Planning Board members after the site walk. “But how can you be sure that she isn’t going to breed her dogs commercially?”

The board was touring the property for a second time after neighbors complained at a Sept. 22 meeting that only board members Jeremiah Ross and Dave Savage had attended the first site walk.

“It’s a challenge because our ordinance doesn’t differentiate between a commercial kennel and personal use,” Planning Board member James Logan said after the site walk.

Steiger’s neighbors said they understand that, but the ordinance is black and white and they want the Planning Board to base its decision on whether to approve Steiger’s permit application on the ordinance’s stipulations.

The neighbors are concerned with several areas of the permit application, Lauzon said.

He said he and his neighbors believe Steiger doesn’t meet some conditions, including ones that require a cement run for the dogs and that dog feces piles be 250 feet from wells.

Neighbors had hoped to have a chance to verify these conditions through the site walk, but Steiger would not let them onto her property. According to Planning Board member Keith Emery, the neighbors had the right to come to the site walk, but Steiger also had the right not to allow them on her property.

“I’m not trying to cause any problems,” Steiger said. “Two of the neighbors already have an opinion. I don’t like the commotion, and I’m embarrassed by it. It hurts.”

Neighbors say they are not pursuing the issue to hurt the Steigers, but they want to make sure every step is being taken to ensure Steiger doesn’t use her property for a commercial kennel.

“I kind of anticipated she wouldn’t let us on the property,” said neighbor Ken Peasley. “I just want to confirm the board’s findings.”

Board members said they wouldn’t discuss their findings until the board meets again on Oct. 14. A decision is expected to be made at that time.

The Steigers moved into their home in 2000. They have had nine dogs living with them since 2003, and say during that time the neighbors never voiced any concern about her animals.

“At the last Planning Board meeting, one neighbor told the board that they didn’t even know we had nine dogs,” Steiger said. “If you didn’t know we had nine dogs, then what’s the problem now?”

Steiger admits that she has bred her dogs in the past but stopped that practice about two years ago.

Lauzon said he understands that, but is concerned that Steiger still has an active Web site stating she breeds her Basenjis, which is an African dog that doesn’t bark.

“She can breed dogs for her own personal use,” Planning Board Vice Chairman Jeremiah Ross told the neighbors after the site walk. “If she decides to sell these dogs via the Web site, then she will be in violation of the ordinance.”

Neighbors said they are also concerned with the odor they claim emanates from the feces compost pile.

During the site walk, Ross asked other Planning Board members whether they noticed an odor, to which many said they did not.

Steiger said she is addressing the odor concern by investigating whether she can dispose of the waste at the Buxton recycling plant.

“I am doing everything I can to work with the neighbors and the Planning Board,” Steiger said.

The Steigers live in a modest Cape-style home in a neighborhood sprinkled with well-maintained Colonial-style houses in a rurally zoned area.

The Steigers also own two horses.

According the their application permit, the dogs and horses all live on the Steigers’ 6.6 acres, where they have a dog yard, attached to the house, that is 75 feet by 30 feet and surrounded by a green, chain-linked fence. They keep the horses on land behind the house.

“It’s hurtful because we move into an area where we keep to ourselves,” said Tim Steiger. “You go about making sure you are upholding the law and doing what you are supposed to be doing and then this happens. It feels like an ambush.”

Pippin, a male Basenji, is one of the Steiger’s nine dogs that reside at their Buxton home on Lord Road. The couple want to continue housing their dogs but must apply for a permit with the town of Buxton under a new kennel ordinance. Sitting in front of her Buxton home Monday evening, Gloria Steiger talks about how she has no plans to run a commercial kennel with her nine dogs. Gloria and her husband,Tim, want to continue housing the animals but must apply for a permit with the town of Buxton under the new kennel ordinance.Gloria Steiger, of Buxton, speaks with the Buxton Planning Board Monday evening as they participate in a site walk on her property off of Lord Road in Buxton. Steiger and her husband, Tim, want to continue housing their nine dogs but must aply for a permit with the town of Buxton under a new kennel ordinance.Gloria Steiger, of Buxton, speaks with the Buxton Planning Board Monday evening as they participate in a site walk on her property off of Lord Road in Buxton. Steiger and her husband, Tim, want to continue housing their nine dogs but must aply for a permit with the town of Buxton under a new kennel ordinance.Buxton Planning Board member, James Logan, speaks with concerned neighbors Monday evening following a site walk of the Steiger property off of Lord Road.


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