Man has 18 sled dogs |

Man has 18 sled dogs

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Silver Creek resident Neal Bowlen keeps 18 dogs at his home. Mostly the dogs live inside a barn, but neighbors complained about two weeks ago when the dogs barked while out in Bowlen’s yard.

Speaking at a meeting of the Summit County Council last week, Bowlen said the dogs are used for his business, Pawsatch Snow Dogs. The Alaskan malamutes are used in dog-sledding tours in the Snyderville Basin.

But critics claim Bowlen may be operating a home-based business without a license.

Bowlen countered that he does not have a license to operate the business at his home because his operation is based at Canyons.

"We’re not a commercial operation on the (Silver Creek) property," he told councilpersons. "We’re not accepting payment. We’re not conducting business."

County officials are requiring him to obtain a conditional use permit from the Summit County Community Development Department to house the dogs at his home, Bowlen said.

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"I’m happy to get a conditional use permit," Bowlen said.

But Summit County Councilwoman Sally Elliott said homeowners should not be allowed to keep 18 dogs in residential neighborhoods.

"If you moved in next door to me with 18 dogs I’d go sky high," Elliott told Bowlen.

Those keeping four or more dogs at their homes are required to obtain private kennel permits from Summit County Animal Control. Bowlen’s attorney said he has applied for the permit.

"Given the rules, the way they are now, we are in compliance," attorney Susan Strauss said. "We would like a private kennel license We know what the rules are and we are trying to follow them."

But most private kennels do not contain 18 dogs, Summit County Councilman Chris Robinson stressed.

If he were not operating his sledding business Bowlen would not own 18 dogs, Robinson added.

"I would have a hard time determining it is private," he said.

But Bowlen countered that the dogs are his pets.

"If the community and the county are going to push me into making a choice of having the business or having the dogs because of permitting issues, then the business will go away and I will keep the dogs," Bowlen said in a telephone interview. "If I didn’t have the business I would still have the dogs there."

Only two neighbors have complained about his dogs, he said.

"One of the two complainers is supportive now. The other complainer is on a mission to do what it takes to not have me there," Bowlen said. "It’s unfair and it’s inappropriate for so much negative publicity to be brought around this when there is really no precedent for it."

He said he will file an application for a conditional use permit to keep the dogs at his house. The home sits on roughly 14 acres.

"From any of the houses in Silver Creek that can see our house, you do not see dogs and you do not hear dogs," Bowlen said. "The dogs are not inventory and I am not selling the dogs."

There could be a public hearing scheduled Dec. 14 for residents to speak out about Bowlen’s permit application.