Rural neighbors concerned with noise from dog whisperer
Reputable dog trainer Rebecca Corso to open training facility on Lort Dr. north of Exeter
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
EXETER – A dog whisperer is coming to rural Exeter, but neighbors are concerned her dog training facility might be too noisy.
Rebecca Corso came before the Tulare County Planning Commission on Jan. 10 to request a special use permit to operate a dog training facility at 18701 Lort Drive less than a mile of Road 182 north of Exeter. Corso has a master’s degree in zoology, is a certified professional dog trainer-knowledge assessed (CPDT-KA) and a certified behavior consultant canine (CBCC-KA), a resume she has built over the last 20 years through education, science and hands-on experience. She is also an associate certified dog behavior consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She founded Dogs for Conservation, a former non-profit organization that trains detection dogs to sniff out endangered species to help scientists study them, and is currently running her own business Your Pro Dog Trainer along with her husband Matthew.
Corso said the facility would take up less than one acre of a more than six-acre property and operate 365 days per year for dog training. As somewhat of a backup plan, if the economy were to decline, Corso requested that she be allowed to occasionally breed a litter and do boarding for dogs not being trained when the pet owners have to travel out of town.
“My hope is not to become a commercial kenneling service,” Corso said. “We do not currently advertise for general boarding of animals.”
Most of the six-acre property is overgrown pasture and most of the surrounding properties are zoned for rural residences or agriculture. Three residents in the area spoke during the Planning Commission meeting about their concerns of noise, aggressive dogs and property values. Corso’s neighbor to the south questioned her ability to maintain control over 50 dogs at a time, especially when she isn’t living on the property.
“This is going to be way too loud,” he said.
Corso responded that her niece and a full-time manager will be living in the 1,200-square foot house on the property. Corso said if the business is successful, she and her husband and children plan to move to the property within the next three years. She said the dogs will be housed in kennels overnight inside a 1,200-square foot detached garage that will be insulated for sound.
“When the dogs are outside, they will be supervised 100 percent of the time,” she said. “I don’t expect they will make anymore noise than in an area where there is already dogs, horses and trains adding noise.”
Another neighbor to the east said his house is just 50 feet from her property. Because she works with dogs that need behavior training, he said he was worried that aggressive dogs might dig under her fence and attack his dogs, or worse, a child or person living in the area.
Corso said most of the dogs with behavior problems will be treated at the dog owner’s home because they tend to be territorial. She said most of the dogs being kept on site are being trained for obedience, housebreaking, or to work as service dogs. Corso said there will probably be about 20 to 30 dogs on the site at all times but that the trainers, including herself, are certified and have five-star ratings in the area.
“It’s not in my best interest to let a client’s dog misbehave for a month when they are paying me to keep them under control,” Corso said.
Planning staff recommended approving the project on several conditions: All dog kennels be properly managed to prevent odors, dust and mosquitoes; and animal waste be disposed of properly to prevent any nuisance.
The Commission unanimously approved the special use permit with one addition, a condition that the site be inspected quarterly for the first year of operation.