Nearly 30 dogs, many disabled, face an uncertain future with Hope for All Dogs, a Pineville-based volunteer group that holds regular adoption events in the Blakeney area.
The dogs are kept at a kennel at a home on Falling Tree Court in the Steele Creek area that has been cited for a possible zoning violation.
Hope for All Dogs board member Autumn Chandler, a 36-year-old registered nurse, worries the dogs will be euthanized at local shelters if the zoning conflict cannot be resolved.
We were very recently made aware via a mailed notification that our current location may not be zoned for our rescue and the notification allows just 30 days to appeal, she said. We have only two months after the response to enter our appeal. If the appeal is rejected, all animals will be removed from the property immediately by animal control and will face a certain death.
The property is in the Old Whitehall neighborhood off of South Tryon Street. The two-story home features a large graveled side yard and a spacious basement exclusively for larger, healthier dogs to reside in kennels when not outside.
Upstairs, the groups founder, Lisa Roney who referred questions to Chandler, keeps smaller, disabled dogs such as Andy, a 17-year-old Pomeranian/spaniel mix who is both blind and deaf. Hes always snuggled in a fleece jacket and is learning sign language because he can see shadows up close.
Barry Moseley of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department said residents who are cited with zoning violations in their district can request a variance, appeal the violation or correct the violation.
They do have 30 days to decide how they will respond, he said.
According to the Dec. 4 zoning notice of violation summary delivered to the home from Charlotte-Mecklenburgs Code Enforcement Division, the nonprofit kennel is to cease and desist operating commercial business within 30 days to avoid monetary citations as no zoning approvals have been issued. Commercial kennel not permitted in residential zones. City of Charlotte zoning code only permits kennels and kennel uses in some commercial districts, operation of kennel in residential district is not permitted as a use by right or accessory use. Remove all business operation.
Volunteer Marissa Edwards, 37, said she has worked with the rescue group of about 15 members as an informal organization for about five years. Chandler said that Hope for All Dogs, an all-breed, no-kill rescue, was formally established by Roney in June. The mission is: to rescue senior and special needs dogs of all breeds.
She indicated that Roney has been fostering dogs from the Falling Tree Street home in Charlotte for about 10 years.
During that time, the Roneys devotion to animal rescue has reached far outside of Charlotte as they traveled to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to assist in the rescue efforts, said Chandler. As a result of their hard work over the last decade, well over 300 animals have been saved from certain death.
Hope for All Dogs rescues are unusual.
In addition to Andy, the group fosters a father/son pair of Dobermans, a German Shepherd with extensive hip and leg problems, and a friendly, mixed-breed dog Trinity, whose owner committed suicide and left the dog tied up outside until neighbors climbed a fence to save the animal.
There are also a host of large breeddogs. Most of the groups adoptable dogs can be viewed at www.hopeforalldogs.com.
Adoption events take place monthly at several locations.
On the first and third Saturday of each month, the group brings animals to Blakeney Shopping Center. They also have a monthly dinner at Word of Beers on South Boulevard to raise donations.
Applications for adoptions are on the groups website and at events.
The adoption process is vigorous and costs about $250 per animal to offset veterinary costs, medicine, food, kennel cages and bedding. The is also a 10-day, getting-to-know-you period to make sure the adoption is a good match.
Chandler says that if the zoning cannot be changed, the groups hope is to adopt all of the dogs quickly.
We have worked so hard to rescue these sweet dogs. We cannot bear to stand by and watch them lose their lives because of this zoning issue, she said. I would like to make special plea to the Charlotte community that they consider adopting one of our very special animals. The love of a rescue is like no other.