Harrison dog training business approved, opening day set for Friday

Harrison Commissioners have approved the addition of pet sitting and boarding at an existing dog training business in the township.

Ringer’s Pet Dog Training, at 3041 Freeport Road, is set to open Friday morning with the additional services, which owner Kim Ringer has not been allowed to offer until she has township approval.

The sprawling site, next to a Sunoco gas station, once housed a car dealership and, before that, an Altmeyer home goods store.

In February, Ringer won initial approval from township commissioners to move the project forward when they voted 5-0 to rezone the property from B-1 to S-1, allowing pet daycare services.

Then, a few weeks ago, Ringer received conditional use permission from the township planning commission, provided several conditions were met.

They included a noise pad, strong fencing, and that the property met state code requirements for zoning and planning.

Ringer presented documents from township commissioners at a special meeting Wednesday evening, showing that she complied with all of those requirements.

Ringer outfitted the property with a 120-by-75-foot fenced-in play area at the rear of the building and a similar area inside.

The buffer zone includes 47 trees, including 36 pines. There is a fence with a self-locking gate approximately 200 feet from residential properties and at least 14 feet from the property neighboring the Sunoco gas station.

In addition, there will be at least one certified trainer for every 15 dogs.

“It seems to be quite thorough,” Commissioner Charles Dizard said. “I would like to commend your tenacity (and) for holding on.”

Ringer has owned the pet business for 26 years, which has another location on the corner of East Sixth Avenue and Rue Corbet in Taranto.

Since purchasing the Harrison Building in 2015, Ringer has intended to centralize operations. There is room for its retail store and dog training facilities, as well as space for pet daycare.

A public hearing was held Wednesday at the Harrison Township Municipal Building ahead of the vote. Commissioners wasted no time thereafter in approving the only item on the agenda.

“It was easy because we were in favor as long as we went through all the procedures,” commissioners chairman Gary Meanor said. “Everyone was in agreement to try to help that. She did a great job. She did her due diligence and there were no holes in her presentation.

“She has a great reputation with the company that has been around in Taranto for years, and I think it’s wonderful that she’s talking about it here in the heights (of Natrona).”

A resident, who identified herself only as Paula D., testified that Ringer’s belongings were necessary.

“It’s great to see new businesses here in this region,” she said. “We need it. We definitely need new business. Not just to bring people in. It’s a business that’s going to be used.

Resident Zachary Meso testified that he had recently moved to Harrison and was concerned about noise from dogs that might be in the business.

Dawn Severa testified that she has lived next door to the Taranto location for years and “you won’t lose a night’s sleep (to the dogs)”.

Others also testified that noise was not an issue.

Ringer said township residents would hear more about the traffic of trucks and people on the street and on their properties in the summer than about his business.

“The noise in this neighborhood is going to get significantly worse, and it’s not because of my dogs,” she said. “As soon as the weather breaks you are going to have people standing in the middle of this street screaming and screaming and swearing into their phones. … My dogs will be the least activity you have to worry about in the neighborhood.

Hours of operation for its Harrison location will be 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

After the vote, Ringer thanked his supporters and shared his excitement for the extra services.

“We’re going to have to change something and get used to new procedures, but it’s a fresh start,” Ringer said. “I have a very strong customer base supporting me. I’ve been in business for 26 years. I’m on second and third generation pets for some of the owners.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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