Sally's not-so-Happy Paws
 

After a long legal battle with Clarence Valley Council over the use of her Grafton home, the Happy Paws Haven owner thought she had fixed her problems when she found a nice home on acreage at Eatonsville.

But Happy Paws, which houses and re-homes abandoned cats and dogs, is facing new opposition, this time from her new neighbours.

"It's a witch hunt," she said. "It's extremely disheartening."

Her Eatonsville neighbours have signed a petition saying they are concerned the noise of up to 20 dogs and 100 cats would disturb the tranquillity of their rural setting and that they have health concerns about animal waste running into dams.

Between 30 and 40 Eatonsville locals and friends attended a meeting last week to voice their concerns. Among them was Jane Dwyer, whose property adjoins onto Ms Rogers's land.

Ms Dwyer said with no town water, she was worried her dam could become contaminated with animal faeces and urine.

"The catchment runs downhill from Sally's," she said. Ms Dwyer said residents were also concerned about the smell of animal waste; noise; air borne disease; and possible devaluation of properties.

Ms Rogers, however, is adamant she can address her new neighbours' concerns.

Already, she has installed two large dog runs, with plans for soundproof, locked night-time shelters and separate areas for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. She said animal waste would be collected and disposed of at the tip, off-site

Ms Dwyer said it was not a witch hunt, and Ms Rogers's intentions were 'admirable'. She thought council should have helped Ms Rogers relocate to another area, or extend the pound facilities.

"I'm disappointed council has not provided her with more options," she said.

Although objections to Ms Rogers's development application (DA) closed on Friday, Ms Dwyer said the community would continue to inform council of their dissatisfaction.

Clarence Valley Council deputy general manager Des Schroder said as a rural property, there was no limit on the number of animals allowed, and Ms Rogers did not need a DA to put up fences or sheds, only to run a business.

He said while all objections would be considered, only direct neighbours could really object and needed to be valid.

"To say 'we don't like cats' is not a valid objection," he said.

Ms Rogers's DA will go to council next year.

If passed, Ms Dwyer said there would be a lot of 'very unhappy' Eatonsville residents.

"Imagine if she lived next to you," she said.

"We're disgusted, stunned and totally, vehemently against her moving here."