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More play space, rooms proposed for this Dawson dog boarding business
Dog kennel
Happy Dog Retreat is located at 733 Elliott Family Parkway. - photo by Julia Fechter

A local dog kennel already operating on Elliott Family Parkway is seeking to expand its facilities. 

The Dawson County Planning Commission recommended approval for Happy Dog Retreat’s special use permit with stipulations for indoor air conditioning and soundproofing. 

Now, the proposal heads to the Board of Commissioners to be heard during the Aug. 18 voting session, which will immediately follow the 4 p.m. work session in the board’s second-floor assembly room at the Dawson County Government Center. 

Happy Dog Retreat, Inc. sits on 4.5 acres. Current owner Laura Manner bought it five years ago, she said during the Tuesday meeting. 

The land encompassing the kennel is zoned Residential Agriculture, and a special use for the kennel falls within that purview, said Chairman Jason Hamby. 

Proposed additions include a new office building, about 612 square feet, with an extra three dog spaces for special needs or sensitive dogs, and a 1,548-square foot indoor recreation building.


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The latter would particularly make a difference “in case of inclement weather, which this summer’s really showed us,” said Manner, “so the dogs can have activity, no matter what the weather is.”

During her application presentation, Manner and planning commissioners discussed the proposed stipulations about pet occupancy and setbacks. 

She pointed out that the recommended kennel capacity of 30 dogs may be limiting, as there are usually between 35-45 dogs on down days and as many as 80 dogs during holiday times, an amount which she later clarified the kennel can handle. 

Manner also clarified that the recreation building would not be for housing dogs, so given the other proposed rooms, they’d “really only be adding four spaces for dogs to board with us.”

“It’s not additional dog space, but it’s better space for the dogs that need it,” she said. 

She likewise pointed out that the preliminary site plans did not jive with the county’s 

stipulation of 150-foot setbacks from property lines, a fact that District 4 Planning Commissioner Neil Hornsey also recognized. 

Hornsey recommended removing the setback stipulation so the kennel could be allowed to proceed with the expansion. 

Stipulations about tree buffers and setbacks for outdoor areas were also struck, since Manner said there’s already such a barrier and that she’d have “no problem” moving fenced-in areas with the available ample yard space.