County Board Votes Against Permit for Dog Breeding Facility

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Winnebago County Board Members voted down a dog breeder’s request to obtain a special use permit to build a new French Bulldog breeding facility on Auburn Rd. Thursday night.

“I am beyond thrilled,” said animal rights activist Kathy Mehalko. “We fought hard trying to bring awareness.”

The zoning committee originally approved breeder Randall Henson’s request, but pulled a 180 in July after new information came to light about Henson’s history.

“They had had serial cases of neglect and/or abuse, and as a result of that, we should use their past to judge them,” said animal rights activist Jim Beam.

Board Member Faye Lyon voted to approve the permit. Now, she’s concerned the Hensons will sue the county, because many board members based their decision off of testimony during a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting – something that is not allowed.

“We are unable to look at any evidence beyond what was presented at that first hearing,” said Lyon. “Based on that evidence, they are entitled to a special use permit.”

Zoning Committee Chairman Jim Webster agrees, saying the County Board is required to zone land, not the people using that land.

“If we zone people, and you came in for a zoning permit, and…I don’t care for blonde-haired people, and I voted no, I could lawfully do that,” said Webster.

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