By Linda Kor
A business operating under the name of Windflower Ranch Kennels in Taylor is getting the attention of local law enforcement due to the large number of unlicensed dogs being kept on the property and for operating a dog kennel without a license.
On Oct. 4, an animal control officer with the Snowflake/Taylor Police Department paid a visit to the facility owned by John Banker after receiving complaints by an individual in mid-August who had purchased a Scottish Terrier from Windflower Ranch and had concerns regarding the cleanliness of the facility.
In his report, the officer stated that he found 93 dogs were being kept on the property, most of them of a large breed. That total included a Newfoundland puppy and 10 adults; three Scottish Terrier puppies and three adults; and two Kuvasz puppies and 71 adults. The website for the kennel states that it is dedicated primarily to the adoption of Kuvasz dogs, and that quality, health and placement are the paramount concerns of the kennel. Windflower Ranch is also offering puppies for sale through Puppytrader.com, asking $400 for Scottish Terrier puppies and $700 for Kuvasz puppies.
At the time of the October visit, all of the puppies at the facility were under four months of age. The Taylor Town Code states that all dogs over that age must be vaccinated for rabies and licensed. According to the animal control officer’s report, none of the dogs in Banker’s facility were vaccinated or licensed. In addition, the report stated that Banker is operating the business without a kennel license, which is required by the state.
The officer gave Banker 10 days to comply with the requirements or he would receive a citation for 93 counts of dog license required.
Police Chief Jerry Van Winkle was contacted on Oct. 31, and said that Banker was given additional time to comply because there were not enough vaccinations available in the area to accommodate the number of dogs needing shots.
“Sixty of the dogs have been vaccinated and he’s still working on it. It’s not an excuse for violating the law, though, and the attorney for the Town of Taylor is investigating the issue,” explained Van Winkle.
He also said that although Banker received approval from the town in 1992 to convert the facility into a kennel/residence/business, he’s not certain if that included having kennels located outside of the building. “It’s just one paragraph in the minutes of a meeting and pretty vague, so there may be some legal technicalities,” Van Winkle said, adding that the animal control officer reported that the animals all had food and shelter, and that when he was there the kennels were clean, but that he didn’t know if the owners had been notified of the visit ahead of time.
Officer Beatty paid another visit to Windflower Ranch on Nov. 5 and asked to look at the back portion of Banker’s property, where it had been reported to him that there was an open pit where deceased dogs were being discarded.
Banker denied having the pit and also denied the officer access to his property.
At that time the officer issued a summons to Banker for 92 counts of Taylor Town Code violations for having unlicensed dogs, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The issue will now go to the Snowflake Justice Court, where Banker is scheduled to appear before Judge Fred Peterson on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
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By Linda Kor