Updated: Oct 1, 2021
Photo by Lynne Deliman
Woofles Premier Pet Resort has come under fire by Robinson Township residents who say hearing dogs at the facility barking all day long is affecting their quality of living. The noise complaints about the Steubenville Pike pet resort were made public during the Sept. 13 commissioner's meeting.
By Garret Roberts
The fact that many dogs are said to give “more bark than bite” is not much help for the Robinson community members concerned by noise from a local kennel disrupting their neighborhood.
Community members addressed the board of commissioners Sept. 13, drawing attention to the increased noise disturbance stemming from the Woofles Premier Pet Resort on Steubenville Pike.
“I hear dogs during all the waking hours of the day,” said Keith Stevens, a Robinson Township resident. “I have dogs, I like dogs, so don't get me wrong. But the continuous dog chatter that I get throughout the day, all day long, every day of the week, it gets almost to the point where it's unbearable.”
According to the commissioners, this has been an ongoing issue during the past year. Board members have received various emails about the noise, with their team going as far as trying to negotiate a compromise that would benefit both parties without taking any legal actions or hard restrictions.
“We’ve tried using back channels as far as trying to focus on some type of middle of the road for [Woofles],” said Frank Piccolino, township manager. “Since then, I have not received any more complaints. Now, the noise is still there. We were under the assumption that things had gotten better, but obviously, you're telling me that it has not. So, we’re going to go back to square one.”
While the two registered speakers did not plan to discuss the same issue that night, the noise issue was the main focus of the community comment section of the meeting.
A larger group of community members from nearby senior living facility Robinson Manor also voiced concerns, citing incidents that happened as far back as January. While the township had tried to remedy the issue after initial complaints about the noise from the nearby pet resort, the members of the community wanted to make it clear that the issue worsened this year around the start of the spring season.
“The sound of dogs barking has become louder and more continuous, seven days a week, eight to ten hours a day,” said Robert Dudet, a member of the senior living community. “This has caused a number of our residents at Robinson Manor to no longer be able to keep their windows and doors open, along with sitting out on a balcony, just because of the excess noise.”
The next steps for township officials will be reevaluating the guidelines typically placed on dog kennels by Pennsylvania state restrictions and discussing the issues with the business owners. The commissioners made it clear they want to address citizens' concerns while balancing the rights of the business.
If Woofles Premier Pet Resort is over capacity, Planning Director Rick Urbano said this could be a cause of the excessive noise in the area. Dogs spending an abundance of time outdoors unattended could also lead to legal action being taken.
“I think the problem is it's overfull and the dogs aren't being treated fairly enough out there,” said Urbano. “They're just stuck in a pen, and you know what happens to a pet when neglected.”
“Please be aware that as a public entity, we're not accusing anyone of doing anything illegal or operating illegally,” said Council Chairman Samuel Abatta on the issue. “We're just looking into the situation and trying to come up with a beneficial remedy for all parties.”