Saturday, 15 December 2018
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Natick: Petition looks to limit dog kennels

A citizen petition wants to prevent dog kennels from locating in residential neighborhoods. The message is clear – enough of the constant dog barking.

NATICK – Annual Town Meeting is less than two weeks away, and an article on the warrant asks voters to prohibit dog kennels in residential neighborhoods.

George Richards sponsored the citizen petition after hearing from about 100 people who don’t want kennels near their homes due to dogs’ barking.

Richards has lived in Natick for 28 years, and used to live near a kennel. He wasn’t a fan of what he described as “constant barking, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“It didn’t help me enjoy my property,” Richards said.

It’s unclear how many dog kennels are in Natick, or how many are in residential neighborhoods. Town departments contacted by the Daily News, including the town clerk and Department of Community and Economic Development, didn’t have the numbers.

The Planning Board issues special permits for dog kennels. It granted four permits from among seven applications over the past 12-18 months, according to Jamie Errickson, director of community and economic development. The kennels are located on Crest Road, Purington Avenue, Leach Lane and Rte. 9. Neighbors are challenging the Leach Lane permit, according to Errickson.

Natick’s zoning bylaws define dog kennels as places that have more than three dogs, each of which is at least 3 months old. Operations include breeding, boarding, sale, training, hunting or other purposes.

The definition doesn’t distinguish between commercial and non-commercial kennels. A non-commercial kennel is someone who owns more than three dogs as pets.

Richards’ petition isn’t targeting non-commercial kennels. He wants to stop issuance of permits for commercial kennels in residential neighborhoods.

“There’s definitely an element of NIMBY (Not in My Backyard),” Richards said of the approximately 100 Natick residents who asked him to sponsor the petition. Many of them live in South Natick, Richards said.

Annual Town Meeting is Oct. 16, when a vote on the petition is scheduled to be taken. However, Richards said he may take the floor at Town Meeting and request residents to vote to have the petition referred back to the Planning Board. He acknowledged he’s considering that course because the language in the petition doesn’t distinguish between commercial and non-commercial kennels, and he thinks that needs to be fixed before he brings the petition back to voters.

“I don’t think a commercial kennel belongs 100 feet from some residence,” Richards said. “We pay a lot taxes to be imprisoned by 15 to 20 dogs barking next door.”

 Follow Henry Schwan on Twitter @henrymetrowest. He can be reached at or 508-626-3964.


The Bark Box

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