City officials are recommending the closure of an unlicensed kennel that officials accuse of mistreating animals and violating a number of health and safety codes.
An investigation by city and county officials of Kipperdale Kennels found that up to 90 dogs had been kept there when the facility was able to handle only 50. The kennel’s owner, Norma Nielson, denies the allegations and has appealed the recommendation to the City Council.
After complaints from people who had boarded their pets at the kennel, Orange County Animal Control, the county’s Vector Control District and the city’s code-enforcement department inspected the facility.
“As we proceeded toward the rear of the property, the amount of flies and the smell was almost unbearable,” Code Enforcement Officer Katherine Twork wrote after an inspection in November. “Some animals’ paws and lower extremities were literally covered in fecal matter because of stepping, running or sitting in it.”
Twork also reported that bags of fecal matter were dumped on the side of the property, attracting maggots. Other alleged violations included sewage spilling onto the property and the storage of old furniture and vehicles in violation of city codes.
Nielson denies that she has mistreated any animals.
“It is totally untrue,” Nielson said, claiming that she now has only 54 dogs on the premises. “I have always cared for and trained animals, ever since I was a little girl. . . . They just want the kennels out.”
She said the city is harassing her. “They have stormed my property with trucks and cameras,” Nielson said. “They would come first thing in the morning before I had a chance to clean. It is unreal.”
Judy Maitlen, assistant director of the county’s Animal Control agency, said Nielson has been cited several times for operating the kennel without a license.
Nielson was told of the alleged violations in December. During inspections since then, officials found that some of the conditions had improved, but not to the point where Nielson could obtain an operating license.
Nielson said she has spent $20,000 to repair the plumbing, only to discover that city-owned trees were causing sewage backups. She has operated the kennel at 8321 Denni St. for the past 15 years, offering animal boarding and grooming. She also breeds Dalmatians.