Divided vote delays decision on controversial border collie operation

Randy Sanders is the owner of Sanders Border Collies. (WLFI Photo)
Randy Sanders is the owner of Sanders Border Collies. (WLFI Photo)

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – A Tippecanoe County border collie breeding operation which has been the center of controversy for nearly two years is at the center of a divided vote after two hours of discussion Wednesday night.

Two dozen people either spoke up or wrote letters against the variance requests made by Thurman “Randy” Sanders at the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting.

“All of the dogs that I have rehabilitated have come from Sanders Border Collies,” said Ken Shuck, owner of Shuck’s Border Collies, one of nine people who spoke Wednesday.

One letter and one person spoke up in favor of Sanders.

During part of the meeting, a video played showing conditions at Sanders’ kennel that News 18 aired in October 2012, taken by Shuck.

One of the requests that Sanders made was for a variance for proper ventilation.

Sanders said it isn’t needed because it is not in the best interest for the working dogs to be raised in a temperature controlled environment.

“The one word that summarizes what we are here about today is perception. What is the perception of what’s going on with this business, with this property? I don’t have time to address all the misconceptions and all of the errors,” said Alan Culwell, the attorney representing Sanders.

The BZA ruled that Sanders must mechanically ventilate and control the temperature where his dogs are kept. That vote was 4-1.

Another variance request related to having a proper setback from the road was denied 3-2. But because any action by the BZA requires four votes, that decision was delayed to next month’s meeting, along with his request for a special exception to legitimize his operation.

Culwell and Sanders both declined to make a comment after the meeting.

Other legal action pending against Sanders is pending the outcome of the special exception request.

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