Pit bull owners win fight for Noble breeding kennel By Kara Hull The Journal Gazette ALBION – A Cromwell couple was given the green light Wednesday night to operate a breeding kennel, keeping as many as 22 American pit bull terriers on their property. David and Theresa Gabet, 11591W Noble County Road 200 West, went before the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals to ask for a special exception to allow up to 39 dogs on their almost three-acre property and to allow the dogs to be kept closer to an adjoining property than what county ordinance states. The Gabets currently have 22 pit bulls on their property that they use to breed and show in competitions, they said Wednesday night. After almost an hour of comments from the Gabets and neighbors opposed to the kennel and discussion, board member Sam Buckles proposed dropping the number of allowed pit bulls down to the number the couple currently owns. Board President George Bennett cast the tie breaking 3-2 vote to allow the kennel. The couple, however, was denied a variance to allow chain-link fence enclosures they use for the dogs to be built closer than the county’s required 250 feet from a neighbor’s property. Neighbors like Dan and Julia Gibbons, who live down the road from the Gabets, cited safety, insurance liability, odor and the devaluing of property as concerns. The couple, who have lived near the Gabets since 2000, attended the meeting with their 3-year-old son Jack and 10-year-old daughter Josie in tow. “I think liability is the biggest issue here,” Dan Gibbons told board members. “An imminent threat is a chance. Are we going to take that chance?” Robert Kirsch, the Gabets lawyer, said the concerns neighbors expressed can’t be regulated by the board. The Gabets – who have gotten kennel licenses from the Sparta Township trustee each year – didn’t know they were in violation of county ordinances until a neighbor filed a complaint about the number of animals on the property, Kirsch said, and they have taken the right steps to be compliant. “These are all things that are not within the zoning ordinance that says what you can act upon,” he said. The board’s ruling was disappointing, Dan Gibbons said after the special exception was granted. Gibbons put his head to his arm, resting against a door frame when he heard the 3-2 vote in favor of allowing the kennel. “I gave it my best shot,” he said after the vote.