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Pahrump breeder plans to convert garage for 30-dog kennel

Updated January 26, 2023 - 7:42 am

A local breeder plans to convert an Oakridge Avenue garage into a dog kennel that could house as many as 30 German Shepherds at any given time.

The plan follows initial approval earlier this month from Pahrump Regional Planning commissioners despite an objection from at least one neighbor who urged them to find a site outside of their residential neighborhood.

Courtney Baca, owner of Baca German Shepherds, told planning officials that the dogs will be contained mostly indoors. A 4.5-foot tall fence around the property will safely divide the dogs from neighbors, she said.

“I would never let my dogs outside unattended,” Baca said, adding that she would not want them to be a nuisance to anyone.

All puppies at the kennel would have to be off-boarded before they turn 6 months old, according to a condition imposed by local planners, who aimed to curb potential problems with overpopulation.

Baca addressed those concerns, saying she was a responsible breeder and would reach out to officials if she needed help.

“I’m not going to over-breed dogs,” Baca said at a hearing for the operation earlier this month.

Animal crisis

Nye County faced an animal-overpopulation crisis last summer when more than 300 dogs were seized at a breeding kennel in Amargosa after being found in poor conditions. That kennel had started in Pahrump, said Nye County Planning Director Brett Waggoner, before relocating to Amargosa following four years of complaints and pushback from neighbors and officials.

“The problem just got bigger, bigger and bigger,” Waggoner said. “They moved out there and it just got worse.”

While initially permitted to care for 30 dogs, the breeders of the embattled kennel were found to be maintaining up to 150 dogs on their property in early 2020. When hundreds of their dogs were seized in Amargosa in August 2022, it overwhelmed the county’s new $4.1 million, 9,000-square-foot animal shelter that had just been open for days.

Volunteers, animal advocates and others intervened to provide care and temporary shelter for the dogs.

But Baca said her operation’s breeding schedules align with her clients’ needs to insure they do not have “extra puppies.”

“We don’t let our dogs go to pounds or shelters,” she said.

Instead, Baca says she largely works with veterans to pair them with German Shepherds who can assist them.

Former Nye County Commissioner John Koenig spoke in support of the proposed kennel, saying that Baca’s operation should not be penalized because of one irresponsible dog breeder.

“We’ve approved many other breeders in town and many of them are successful,” Koenig said. “Don’t let one guy – who was probably the worst person in the world to own a dog – sour it for everyone else.”

Neighbors of the proposed kennel on Oakridge Avenue spoke out against the plan in a letter to the Nye County Planning Department.

“We purchased this land to build a retirement home and enjoy retirement in Pahrump,” wrote one neighbor in a letter filed with the kennel’s business plan. They urged planning commissioners to help find a more suitable site for the kennel that wasn’t in their established residential neighborhood.

Contact Editor Brent Schanding at bschanding@pvtimes.com

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