Dog rescue, neighbors at odds over future of location - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Dog rescue, neighbors at odds over future of location


Workers at a local animal rescue say they take animals scheduled to be put to sleep and give them another chance. Now they're worried a neighborhood fight may force them to shut their doors.

"This is a beautiful, quiet place," said Jamie Hawkins of Tennessee Death Row Dogs. "It's a place of hopes and dreams for dogs and now their future's in jeopardy. We save dogs that are only scheduled for euthanasia. Some dogs only have a week, some only have a day. We've saved dogs that are as much as an hour away from euthanasia."

Since September, Hawkins has had rescue Barktopia on seven acres of land in Maury County, but now, latches are open, pens are empty and toys sit untouched. She worries it could remain that way.

Hawkins said she didn't realize she needed a special permit to put a kennel on rural land in Maury County, and she's had to give her animals to foster families until she gets that permit.

"We've had to turn down many dogs we can't take because we don't have anywhere to put them right now," said Hawkins.

Several neighbors told Channel 4 they don't want Barktopia to get that permit, saying they're concerned about their property values dropping because of constant barking in addition to being worried about the safety of their children.

"We test all of our dogs for temperament, and we don't take unstable dogs," said Hawkins. "We don't take vicious dogs."

Next month, Hawkins is scheduled to appear in front of the Maury County Board of Zoning Appeals to ask for a special use permit. 

Hawkins said she's willing to build a fence around Barktopia and even buy sound buffering panels to quiet the barking. She said she'll do anything to continue her work.

"We see the faces of the lives we've changed for the better," said Hawkins.

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