A retired police officer and his fiancee have won approval to operate a dog kennel for up to 20 animals that will be used in a training operation for service, movie, tracking and law enforcement animals.
Colby Gwyn-Williams and Jose Raul Hernandez are moving their operation from Key West to a 30-acre site on Southeast 215th Avenue — County Road 323 — in Morriston.
County Development Director Rob Corbitt praised the couple, their consultant and their lawyer in presenting the request for the special exception permit. "This is a very fine application," Corbitt said. "It is the most complete application I have seen."
He said the presentation by the consultant and attorney was so complete he left the explanation of the project to the couple's consultant and attorney.
Charlie Gauthier of Morris-Depew Association, Inc., said the kennel is a training facility. "This won't be like a business with people coming and going." He said the kennel would be hidden from view of street traffic. Plans for the facility call for it to be located at least 300 feet inside the property and hidden by existing wooded areas. The nearest residence is 730 feet from the property line and about 1,500 feet from the kennel.
Hernandez, who is a retired K-9 officer, said his grandfather trained hunting dogs and he has spent his life handling dogs. He is a retired K-9 officer. "We would like to relax a little more," he said of himself and his fiancee who works with horses.
Hernandez said he has talked to all the neighbors about the project and explained he trains dogs for specific needs. He said six dogs he trained were in the Top 20 for the world in rankings for four countries.
"I normally work with 10 dogs, five adults and five younger." He said the older dogs show the way for the younger ones. He said he has worked with dogs of all breeds and sizes, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes.
The kennel will not be advertised, Hernandez said. "Because people like to throw dogs over the fence," he said.
The approval carries certain conditions including the requirement that it be operated according to the plan presented, the facility be cleaned daily as described in the application, be subject to inspection by Levy County Animal Control Services during normal business hours and any expansion requires an application for an amendment to the permit.