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Ruling on Iron Horse Kennel license renewel expected next week

Sat., Feb. 2, 2013, midnight

The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service presented its case Wednesday before Spokane County Hearing Examiner Mike Demspey arguing against license renewal for Iron Horse Kennel in Newman Lake.

The hearing was scheduled after kennel owner Wilma Turner appealed SCRAPS director Nancy Hill’s decision not to renew her dog kennel license that expired in October. Hill testified Wednesday that she based her decision on two years of inspection failures, criminal charges and probation violations.

Turner pleaded guilty in 2011 to several criminal charges after an inspection revealed substandard conditions at her kennel. As part of a plea agreement she agreed to have no further violations, but a judge recently ruled that she violated her probation after 2011 and 2012 inspections by SCRAPS showed further problems.

“They did not meet all the requirements for having a commercial kennel,” Hill said. “We went out three times expecting that corrections would have been made.”

The problems documented by animal control officers in the November inspections include having mice in the food, the use of rat poison in the food, a dog with eye drainage, dirty water dishes, large amount of feces in some kennels and not enough wood chips on the kennel floors.

Turner, who no longer has an attorney, was represented by family friend Angie Dozier.

“I have cancer,” said Turner, who said she had been undergoing chemotherapy. “My brain doesn’t exactly comprehend all this.”

Dozier asked Dempsey for a continuation of the hearing until Turner’s appeal of her probation violation ruling is complete.

Dempsey denied the request for continuation. “It should have been brought up before the hearing,” he said.

Dozier said that after inspections identified issues Turner corrected whatever problems were found. Turner was in the hospital during two of the November inspections, she said. “Had she not been in the hospital this would not have happened,” she said.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Hubert noted that the court hearing on Turner’s probation violation had been scheduled for much earlier but was postponed several times at Turner’s request. “It wasn’t a last-minute ambush,” he said.

Hubert said he sympathized with Turner’s health issues, but her illness cannot excuse “severely unsanitary conditions.”

“The problem is, however, that we see a history of issues,” he said. “We see a history of violations.”

Dempsey said he expects to issue an oral decision next week with a written recommendation to the Spokane County commissioners to follow. The commissioners will have the final say on whether to deny the license renewal.

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