Go-ahead for dog care facility after supporters rally behind Selkirk woman

Happy Hounds gets approval amid barking dogs row v.1

By Paul Kelly
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 2:06 pm
Jo-Anne Keatings with one of her charges.
Jo-Anne Keatings with one of her charges.

Go-ahead has been granted for a dog care facility to continue operating in Selkirk after supporters rallied behind its under-fire owner.

Jo-Anne Keatings has run Happy Hounds, which offers dog grooming and boarding services, from her home, Heath Cottage at Broadmeadows in the Yarrow Valley, since 2014.

But when she submitted a retrospective planning bid to Scottish Borders Council for the change of use of agricultural land to form a dog care facility there was one objection to the application, amid claims that noise from barking dogs and vehicle movements were “unbearable”.

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It was claimed in the submission that 15 off-lead dogs were allowed to run up to locals whilst “other dogs are left at the property to bark”.

They were comments which surprised Miss Keatings, who runs the business with support from her partner Gary and daughter Layla.

She said: “I have never been aware of any locals being upset by anything that I have done. I do know that what we do is a valid service and we’d like to be given the opportunity to expand which would provide more job opportunities in a rural location.”

Subsequently, 27 people submitted comments in support of the application, one saying:  “Jo and Gary are a hard-working couple who provide a valuable service with dedication and thoughtfulness.”

In his report backing the application, council planning officer Brett Taylor says: “From the submitted photos and the location of the business I consider the kennel buildings would not have a detrimental visual impact on the appearance of the area.

“Given the rural location, I consider the development will not harm neighbouring amenity in terms of daylight, sunlight, privacy, sunlight and outlook.

“The council has granted an Animal Boarding Establishment licence which limits the hours of operation and the number of dogs to be kept during the day and at night.

“Given the granting of the licence, issues regarding barking dogs is a matter for environmental health to address under their own legislation.”