Animal hospital wants to add dog boarding; neighbors worry about more noisy barking

Animal hospital wants to add dog boarding; neighbors worry about more noisy barking

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Needham Animal Hospital wants to add indoor kennels and a pet daycare facility, but neighbors in the adjacent Samsara Estates neighborhood worry about dog barking noises getting worse.

“You can hear the dogs barking, even from within our home," said Brandy Mechling, whose home backs up to the animal hospital. “We actually had to build a large water feature to drown out the noise of the barking dogs.”

In order to upgrade the animal hospital with certain boarding capabilities, Needham must re-zone the land.

Animal hospital wants to add dog boarding; neighbors worry about more noisy barking

The Wilmington Planning Commission has considered the proposal before, and on Wednesday night, it granted the animal hospital a third continuance. This means the planning commission’s next public hearing and decision will take place at its next meeting on Jan. 9.

During Wednesday night’s meeting, representatives with the animal hospital shared their latest plans to muffle the potential sounds of barking.

A sound-absorbing wall, sound-buffering plants, and rearranging the dogs within the facility are the latest fixes the animal hospital has proposed.

Commissioners said they wanted to hear from a sound engineering expert to verify if the plan would effectively block out barking dogs, but the applicant could not locate an expert for Wednesday’s meeting.

Needham clients spoke at the meeting, praising the services their pets have received.

In July, Needham was found to be in violation of its zoning allowances by operating a kennel, which was not allowed.

Homeowners by the animal hospital want to preserve their quiet neighborhood.

“I just don’t see it getting any better with adding in this additional space,” said Mechling. “It can impact that quality of life when you’re entertaining or sitting on your back porch or even inside of our home, we can hear it.”

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