Big Dog Ranch Rescue wants to expand in Loxahatchee Groves: neighbors oppose the idea

LOXAHATCHEE GROVES, Fla. - A western Palm Beach County dog rescue wants to expand, but it may be a rough fight.

The Big Dog Ranch Rescue currently sits off Acme Road in Wellington, but they want to expand off Bryan and Folsom roads in Loxahatchee Groves.

However, residents there are not happy about dozens of dogs possibly setting up camp in their neighborhood.

The no-kill shelter takes care of more than a thousand dogs each year.

"We just don't have space. Space matters," president of Big Dog Ranch Rescue Lauree Simmons said. "We want to save more animals by having a boarding facility and a low-cost veterinary clinic."

The rescue currently sits on nearly 30 acres of land, but zoning issues only allow them to use about 6 acres on the property.

Simmons said they thought they'd be able to expand, but another developer has come in to develop the rest of the surrounding land.

Now the rescue is forced to find an additional location and one place they're looking is an old nursery in Loxahatchee Groves.

"I'm not for it. I have nothing against what they're doing for animals. I think what they're doing is great. I just don't think a facility of that size belongs in a residential setting," Jerry Perkins said.

Perkins lives right across the street from the 15 acre lot the rescue is looking to open a boarding facility and veterinary clinic.

He worries about the noise, the smell and the traffic a boarding facility and veterinary clinic will bring to his small street.

"You start making changes here and changes there and next thing you know your town isn't what it was made out to be to begin with," Perkins said.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue argues otherwise.

"When we build from scratch it would be different," Simmons said. "It would have sound proof windows and I think it would be a great asset for the community."

The Town of Loxahatchee Groves council is currently discussing if Big Dog Ranch Rescue can move to that piece of land.

 

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