Operators of a dog breeding business on Granath Mesa north of Dolores will attempt to mitigate noise issues that are bothering some neighbors.
The Montezuma County Board of Commissioners delayed a hearing on a proposed certification-of-use permit for Rocky Mountain Malamutes for six months to give operators Jared Hansen and Karen Becker time to minimize noise impacts from barking and howling.
The business raises, breeds and sells Alaskan malamutes and Rocky Mountain Biewer terriers out of a 12-acre ranch on County Road V.6.
The facility is licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Agriculture, American Kennel Club and Pet Animal Care Facilities Act Program.
The business has been operating since 2014 and at first was only breeding the terriers and Pomeranians, which go inside overnight. They no longer breed Pomeranians.
In 2016, they began also breeding standard and large Alaskan malamutes, which are housed outdoors, but the additional dogs triggered complaints from neighbors over barking noise. Twenty-one malamutes are housed in fenced and sheltered outdoor dog runs. They produce five to eight litters per year, Hansen said.
After getting complaints about barking noise at night, Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin suggested to Hansen and Becker that they meet with the county planning and zoning board about the business.
After hearing from neighbors and touring the site, the planning and zoning board recommended approval of the proposed certification-of-use permit with the condition that noise from barking dogs be mitigated.
Neighbors amicably expressed their concerns during a public hearing on the issue, saying that while they do not object to the business, they would like the noise to be reduced. Suggestions include housing the malamutes indoors at night, reducing the number of dogs, installing bark collars and putting up sound barriers.
Lloyd Calvert, representing the owners of nearby Sophia Lodge, said the barking from the malamutes has disturbed guests and wedding parties at the event center.
Neighbor Diane Roberts said the barking at night interrupts sleep for her and her husband, who said the moved to the area for the peace and quiet.
Hansen said they will consider moving the malamutes to an indoor barn on the property to reduce the noise at night. They have tried barking collars, but the dogs pull them off. They are opposed to a having a debarking medical procedure done on their dogs.
The breeders noted that other canines in the neighborhood, including wild coyotes, also cause barking disturbances. Other ideas include planting trees and installing straw bales around the outdoor kennels to absorb some of the noise.
“You need to find a way to reduce the noise to neighbors, because it is not fun to live next to unmitigated noise,” said commissioner Keenan Ertel.
The breeding business is within a subdivision, and the other property owner provided a letter of nonopposition that allowed for the commercial dog breeding business. Under a certification-of-use permit, if the business moves, the property reverts back to commercial-residential zoning, said Planning Director LeeAnn Milligan.