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Pug breeders hope third time’s the charm: Planning commission to hear request for kennel permit

By Brenna Kelly

For the third time since August 2014, the Cache County Planning Commission will hear a request from John and Caryn Mullin for a conditional use permit for a dog kennel business.

If approved by the council at its Dec. 3 meeting, Wild Bunch Kennels — which would house 42 pugs — would be located on 1.14 acres of property at 5670 North Highway 23 in Cache Junction. The property is in a cluster of homes, and the Mullins would build the kennel across from their home. While concerns last year primarily stemmed from the welfare of the animals, the commission is now expressing concern about potential odor and noise issues. The area is zoned for agriculture.

“It’s mainly the noise. The odor really isn’t a problem,” said Joseph Chambers, the Mullins’ attorney. “The county has no objective standard on how to measure the noise.”

If there is a noise violation, it is the applicant’s burden to address the issue. Sound on the property cannot exceed 75 decibels from 30 feet away. Chambers said it would cost the Mullins thousands of dollars to conduct a sound test. While law enforcement officials are not equipped with sound meters for noise complaints, the county can borrow one from the Bear River Health Department or Logan City.

“I’m certainly not a scientist on sound,” said Rob Smith, a member of the commission. “Other areas have certainly dealt with noise issues. I’m sure there are scientific methods established to deal with noise.”

The Wild Bunch Kennel would only house pugs, which are known for their small barks. The Mullins have been in the business of pug breeding for eight years at their current home in Casper, Wyoming, and they have never had an issue with noise before. In last year’s August meeting, John Mullin said the building would be fully insulated.

The path to bringing their business to Cache County has been a difficult one. In September of 2014, the Mullins were denied a conditional use permit by the Planning Commission. It was then appealed and sent to the Board of Adjustments, which overturned the commission’s decision and sent it back.

“Basically, the planning commission just made conclusions without finding the facts, and they denied it again,” Chambers said.

It wasn’t until the Mullins got the state ombudsman involved that the commission was ordered to review the request again.

While county ordinances change year to year, the planning commission’s suggestions to the Mullins must be according to the ordinance in place at the time of the initial request.