Danny Kerr, and his wife Carolyn, accompanied by other neighbors, asked the fiscal court to help them eliminate a disturbance by enacting a nuisance ordinance.
The families say their new neighbor’s animals are disturbing their peace.
The new neighbor, Christine Winkleman, moved to the Wax area, on Peonia Road, in November 2012, and brought with her approximately 100 dogs. She moved from Florida, according to her neighbors.
Carolyn Kerr said the animals were transported in on a bus, with crates stacked as high as she could see.
This may be the same bus Judge-Executive Gary Logsdon referred to when he said he and Grayson County Animal Control Manager, Dewayne Edwards, visited the property to see for themselves the situation.
Logsdon said he asked how many dogs they had on the property and they were told 40 dogs. He said the first visit they made there were at least 100 dogs, and during their second visit they counted 72 dogs. He said the dogs were housed in a school bus that had fecal matter so thick on the floor the dogs are standing in the seats, which have been chewed apart. He said a barn on the property is full of dogs, first and second floor, and the fecal matter and urine is dripping through the second floor cracks onto the animals housed on the first floor.
Claims were made by the audience that a toddler in the home had been taken by Child Protective Services due to the deplorable conditions in the home, but the child had been returned after the home was cleaned-up.
Danny Kerr stood in front of the court with a handheld recording device and played a sound clip of the barking he endures in his bedroom, with the windows closed. The barking from the recording was obviously that of multiple animals, and at a disturbing level.
A bark eliminator has been placed on the property, according to Edwards, but the neighbors say it doesn’t curb the noise level at all.
Kerr said he was paid restitution of $300 for cattle that were killed by the dogs, during a court case prosecuted by County Attorney Clay Ratley.
Ratley told the group that his office had been contacted by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) of Florida concerning Winkleman, but he could not give details of the discussion.
Edwards said he had contacted the Kentucky Office of State Veterinarian to open an investigation to the living conditions of the animals.
Edwards said the woman was retired from a fire department in Florida, and had claimed she was caring for the dogs until they died, and that she had no plans of taking-in anymore animals.
Edwards said a veterinarian has been to the home and checked the animals and vaccinated some of the animals.
Ratley said the group had the option of banding together and taking civil action against the neighbor, but the group was hesitant about the possible fees associated with retaining a lawyer. He said Grayson County does not have a nuisance ordinance that would apply in this case, only leaving civil action as an option.
Judge Logsdon said the county does not want to enact a nuisance ordinance because it would cause issues with other areas in the county, such as loud tractors, festivals, etc.
The group is hoping the investigation by the Kentucky Office of State Veterinarian will force a removal of the animals and restore their peace and quiet. One man said, “These conditions cannot be humane for these animals.”
K105 reached out to Christine Winkleman, who confirmed she was retired from the Florida area and had spent ample amount of time finding farmland to retire and keep her animals; an area with good schools for her son, low property taxes and low crime rate. She said she spoke with the Sheriff’s Department, real estate agents and the Chamber of Commerce during her search, and explained their intentions.
Winkleman owns the property on Peonia Road and said she informed her neighbors that she would be moving to the area with her animals by way of a flyer that she supplied K105 a copy of.
She said she houses these dogs – mostly Syberian Huskies, Pointers and Hounds - to keep them out of kill shelters. She explained the majority of these dogs are not socialized, some have special needs and are unadoptable.
Winkleman said the costs to care and feed this many animals is $1,200 - $1,500 per month.
Winkleman said she has approximately 60 dogs and is not taking-in anymore animals at this time, with the exemption of a couple of strays they have found wondering the roadside. She hopes to become a 501 3C not-for-profit shelter, which has the formal name of Boon Doggle Animal Sanctuary, Inc.
Winkleman said they own a school bus that they use to transport the dogs, which also doubles as a place to isolate dogs who are misbehaving or sick.
Winkleman said the animals are well taken care of with up-to-date shots and heart worm checks from a local vet, who visits monthly. She said the kennels are kept clean with straw and the dogs are not leashed.
She said she is trying to obtain a kennel license but has been unsuccessful in figuring out who grants kennel license in Kentucky. She said she has talked to various state agencies in search of the kennel license and was sent back to the fiscal court to seek out a license. She said she spoke with Magistrate Harold Johnson, who said he would speak to the court about her request.
Johnson said during the special called meeting that Winkleman lied to him and “assured” him she only had 10 dogs.
Winkleman said that Miller must have misunderstood her saying she was explaining she had to own at least 10 dogs to apply for a kennel license.
Winkleman said her toddler son was taken from her home by Grayson County Social Services and returned 1 ½ months later after they made changes to the interior of the house. She said they took the boy because of the smell of ammonia in the house, which was from pups they had in the house through the winter months and the animals had piddle on the floor. She claims that social services took her son without any show of court orders or warrants to remove her child.
Winkleman claims not all of her neighbors are against the dog sanctuary, claiming there is a petition circulating in support of the shelter, claiming some of the neighbors volunteer at the shelter.
She said the only time the barking is in mass is at feeding/cleaning time and when the dogs are stirred by wildlife.
Winkleman says she has more plans for her farm, plans of organic farming of vegetables and herbs – garden and medical – and possible contracts with a company to sell the herbs and vegetables. She said she would also like to be able to specialize in a holding area for injured wildlife until a vet can tend to the animal.
Through an open records request, K105 obtained a copy of the State Office of Veterinarian report which shows they received a complaint on May 17, 2013 in writing by Rayna Warford. The complaint was made on Christine Winkelman on 13516 Peonia Road, Clarkson, KY.
The nature of the complaint was, “100 barking dogs in bad living conditions and neglect.”
Investigator Marcus Avery was assigned to the case and on May 18, 2013 investigated the property. He submitted this summary on May 23, 2013, “Upon enter(ing) the property where the dogs were housed it became very clear the nature of the complaint for barking. The barking of around 100 dogs was almost unbearable for me. As for the complaint of neglect, the dogs looked and appeared to be feed, watered, and sheltered.
Avery’s “Action Taken” section said, “No action was taken by this investigator due to no KRS regulating barking/hording dogs. This investigator referred to legal counsel from Clint Quarles within the Department of Agriculture. I also advised the Grayson County Animal Control officer DeWayne Edwards that is would be up to government of the county to implement an ordinance for these types of situations.