K-9 Companions

This is RURAL, UNINCORPORATED Riverside County. This is an agricultural (though the county is working hard to take that away) and animal keeping area. Which is reasonable, being this is an unincorporated area. Many of us moved here for animal keeping reasons. Kennels, cataries, aviaries and stables are a reasonable thing to see out here. To say nothing of our right for private ownership of animals.

Some of you may have seen the K-9 Companions billboard on Van Buren, near Mockingbird Canyon. K-9 Companions came to Riverside in 1987. They first purchased land off of Kirkpatrick Road and got their Class 1 permit for their kennel business. Then, in 1994 they purchased property at 13703 Cajalco Rd. They applied for and obtained their kennel Class 2 license in 1996 after hearings and such were held. The Duets have been conducting business there since that time without one complaint in all this time. The County of Riverside approved 20 dogs, but Animal Services had stated 25 dogs, then raised it to 35 and issued permits. The 35 dog permit is what the Duets have held for over a decade and all was well, fine and good, until they applied to expand their growing, in demand business. Imagine, a thriving business in Riverside County!

13703 Cajalco Road, Perris, CA

Please note that the property the Duets purchased for this business is located next to a reserve, habitat area. This was done in part to minimize impacts to area residents of kennel noise. Looking at the maps you can see that this area is very rural, open, large lots with good distance between homes. This is not an area surrounded with residential sized lots. If this isnt the appropriate location for a kennel, where else in Riverside County would be? At the below link you may have to put in the Duets address (13730 Cajalco Rd., Perris, 92570) to see the lot sizes and rural area this sits in.

The kennel has created a positive reputation here in our community and in the county, and thou still small, has generated jobs in Riverside County. Something much needed, especially for our young adults, while attending college here. A good number of the staff at K-9 Companions are young adults, starting out in animal training and animal behavior. Some of them are going to college for degrees in this field. Others work there and live in our community. The Duets have qualified trainers that they have trained or have come to them already trained in this field. As with most jobs, you may come to them skilled, but their is still training needed to learn the ways K-9 Companions trains dogs. So true is the training given to the staff/trainers at K-9 Companions. The Department of Animal Services has even requested and had K-9 Companions demonstrate their training of obedience and protection at some of the counties Open House events throughout the 1990s.

This business was brought about due to the love and compassion George and Karen Duet have for animals, especially George, who has a dog to aid him with a disability from his years of service in the military (Vietnam Special Operations Warrior, two (2) Bronze Stars, two (2) Purple Hearts). He gained his love and respect for dogs working with the K-9 handlers in Vietnam. The dogs were used to alert the troops (protection dogs). Their business has been everything to them, It has literally been their lives. And it shows in the number of dog owners that have in the past brought their dogs to K-9 Companions, referred others to them, ones that have their dogs there now and the numbers of others waiting to bring their dogs there and must wait in line due to limitations on the number of dogs the business is permitted to train and house at any given time.

With the business going so well and there never being one complain (as per the records at current county public hearings) filed against the business to that point, the Duets decided to try and meet the needs of dog lovers waiting to get in. They approached the property owner next to them (to the left of them, on the parcel maps) and entered into negotiations to purchase their property in Feb. of 2009. Their goal was to expand their kennel to accommodate a larger number of dogs for training. Agreements were reached and all that was left was to get the proper approvals from the county departments overseeing business, land use and animals. The Duets did their due diligence, checking with Animal Services, Transportation, Flood Control, Planning and then paid the county their $13,762.00 up-front fee and went to public hearings with their request to expand their kennel. The county opened hearings on a request for Conditional Use Permit (CUP) number 3618. As is required and should be required, the Duets had to give public notice to area residents of their intent to expand the kennel/business.

When the notice went out, the parcel (one family 13531 Cajalco Rd. see parcel map) opposed the request to expand the kennel. This meant further hearings would need to be held and mitigation would now be needed to address the concerns of this resident. Each of these steps would mean monies paid by the Duets to the county for services rendered during this process. Their $13,762.00 was used up in no time. To date the bill from the County to the Duets has reached $29,450.50 in fees. Plus $20,000.00 in engineering costs, which the county required the Duets to do. The Duets kept on going, because county staff had been telling them they didnt see a problem with getting them approved. Once youre $50,000.00 into something, how do you just walk away? They almost got their approval in Feb. of this year, until this one family got neighbors from much farther away from the site (off Lake Mathews Dr.) to object and a newer resident to their street to object. This newer resident purchased knowing there were two kennels on this road, permitted kennels, and that these would be his neighbor. Some of the mitigation agreements at the Feb. meeting were to have all the dogs put up by 8:30 p.m. each night and until 7 a.m. each morning. To put up and maintain temperature controlled/sound proofed rooms, which the Duets did. The County Code Enforcement staff conducted sound studies at the Duet property. The report showed that there were dogs barking from other residents around the Duets as well as road traffic from Cajalco Rd and air traffic that seemed to be bigger issues then the dogs at K-9 Companions.

What were the issues that needed mitigation? That the dogs made too much noise. Investigations by the Department of Animal Services showed that there is another kennel on the same road and next to each other. They noted that other property owners had dogs. The Duets have even gone so far as to hire twenty-four (24) hour, seven (7) days a week staffing to enable them to immediately respond to any barking dog/s on the property.

It was stated that the kennel had created a traffic problem, due to too many cars coming up and down the roadway. The county was unable to show such a traffic problem. It was stated that cars were going down and sometimes blocking the private driveway of this one resident. The Duets posted a staff member out front (8 a.m. to 1 p.m) to ensure that anyone coming to the kennel used the roadway and not the private drive. The Duets stated that they would post a directional sign to properly guide clients down the roadway to the kennel. The neighbor objected, stating that their current CUP stated that they could not put up signs. The county could have mitigated/changed the CUP to read that only directional signs could be put up. That the arrow directing traffic to the kennel be larger then the text and that the text be simple, K-9 Kennel (since there are two (2) kennels on this road) with the arrow pointing down the roadway, away from the neighbors driveway. The neighbor started calling the Sheriff, saying this staff member was blocking his driveway. I, myself, have driven by a number of times and she sits far away from this driveway and was in no way blocking his ingress or egress to his driveway.

Too many cars at the kennel was another claim made. The county could not show this to be fact and found only the property owners vehicles, staff vehicles and the cars of clients receiving private training on the grounds.

A claim that illegal protection/sentry dogs were being kept and trained at the kennel was made. The county was/is well aware that this was the case and the county Department of Animal Services had even requested that K-9 Companions show their training at events and K-9 Companions did so. When it was pointed out to the county, at a county public hearing, that this was in violation of State ordinance, the county didnt realize that they were not aware of the 1969 state ordinance that required them to have guidelines for their trainers certification spelled out by 2001. The mistake was theirs (the counties) and they informed the Duets that they would have to obtain the proper qualifications (once the county created them) to train protection/sentry dogs and that the Duets would be the first to have such permits in Riverside County. The Duets agreed.

After numerous public hearings and mitigation between the county and the Duets the tables turned and the county started saying they were in violation of things never brought up during this whole process. Things that were signed off in their first permit and CUP, back in 1995. Lighting, septic tank location and width of the gate to the kennel became issues. The Duets were working with and addressing these issues and taking all the steps they could to meet county requirements and requests and all the while paying the county more and more money. Then the total became more then the Duets had to pay, the county stopped meeting with them and wouldnt negotiate in good faith with the Duets until their money was paid to them. Not knowing how much longer and how much more this could end up costing them, the Duets stopping paying the county more money.

On Sat. July 24, 2010 (when the county knew the Duets would be out of state) the county raided the kennel. They were cited for having too many dogs on the property, having guard/attack dogs on the grounds (thou it was the county that knew they had them and had no county rule against them (putting the county in violation of state code), and had told the Duets that they would contact them as soon as they had their code written and the Duets would be the first to obtain such permits in Riverside County). On Aug. 5, 2010 the Duets were informed that their permit for the kennel they have run for over ten (10) years was being revoked. Please note that this was after their permit came up for renewal in May 2010, inspection of the kennel was done, their fees paid and accepted and cashed by the county. No working with the Duets. Just pull their lic. and put something like 17 employees in the unemployment lines. I wonder if their renewal fees were given back to them or did that just become another fee the county got to keep.

A simple effort to expand had now turned into a business being closed and more people being placed in the unemployment lines. One would think that this should have all been brought to the table long before collecting almost $30,000.00 from the Duets. The county says it wants to work with the public and not strong arm (nudge) the public. If this is the case, how come the Duets were given 24 hours to have their protection dogs out of the county, not just off the kennel grounds? The dogs were not what had to be licensed, it was the trainers the State required to be licensed. These dogs had always been there and the county knew it and the county had come to an agreement with the Duets that they went back on, to draw up their ordinance and have the Duets then obtain certification.

One would have to wonder if this wasnt/isnt just a means of generating revenue. How does one have illegal protection dogs when the code wasnt for that, but rather for certified trainers? How can you be in violation of a code the county hadnt created yet? And, if the county created it while the Duets were out of state, and knew they would be out of state, was it fair to raid them and charge them knowing they had been doing everything asked of them and had an agreement to get the permits once the county had them in place? I have been told that a number of the charges against the Duets, their staff and K-9 Companions have since been dropped. The Duets are still trying to work with the county to resolve these issues and get back to what they set out to do, to train dogs and meet the needs of dog owners and residents. They are still trying to get their dogs back, get their license and CUP back and to have all charges dropped, at yet another expense to the Duets. I have to shake my head and wonder, How is it that I and many others have called and continue to call the county Sheriff, Code Enforcement and Health Dept. for CLEAR and BLATANT violations of code for these venders on the street corners selling fruit and nuts and flowers, with no proper refrigeration, no restroom, no sanitation for washing their hands, no business license, stealing business away from licensed businesses in Riverside County and not paying taxes have nothing done to them? We cant even get them to come out and answer the call in some cases, but yet this is happening to a well known, well established, jobs creating, tax paying business? How does this happen? What rules is this county playing by?

This issue is set to go before the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tues. Oct. 5 at the 1:30 p.m. portion of that days hearings. They need your support. Im asking you to take the time to give them that. Please note the contact info. below and take the time to help them and to protect your rights today and tomorrow.

If this could happen to this kennel, it can happen to any kennel and anyone that keeps animals in Riverside County. Next it will be that the smell of horses and other animals is a problem and the animal keeping ordinances should be changed. Next it will be that animal keeping creates flies and such and that we should therefore have our animal keeping codes removed to eliminate anything anyone doesnt like about animals and rural living. Kennels in the city are very limited, due to city densities and the inability to prevent noise travel in city densities. Kennel permits are already very hard to obtain or afford (as you can well see, doing business in Riverside County isnt easy and one would have to wonder if it is even welcomed). The proper place for kennels is in the rural area. No one likes barking dogs, but these issues can be addressed/mitigated, set-backs agreed to, sound barriers put up, hours of operation limited and so on. The county mitigates with developers all the time. The county should be mitigating the issues here and approving this kennels expansion, reinstating their CUP, business license and allowing K-9 Companions to go back to conducting business and putting their staff back to work as well as dropping the number of unemployed in Riverside County. How many small businesses in Riverside County employee 17 people?

Im asking you to send an e-mail, a letter, a FAX, make a phone call and let the county know that this kennel should be approved and given back their permits to conduct business. Please also send a copy of your correspondence to myself and the Duets, so that we can document the responses sent (as they sometimes seem to get lost at the county and never make it into the records).

Please send your letters to:
Attention: Adam Rush
4080 Lemon Street (12 th floor)
Riverside, CA. 92501

e-mail: ARush@rctlma.org

With a copy to myself at: CindyRAGLM@aol.com and a copy to the Duets at: info@k-9companions.com