Scappoose neighbors irked by home with dozens of dogs



Posted on August 20, 2009 at 8:59 AM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 29 at 10:52 AM

SCAPPOOSE, Ore. -- The howls of barking dogs shatter the warm country air outside Scappoose, coming from a home that has been the focus of neighborhood angst for five years.

It's all neighbor Scott Groves ever hears. If it's not the barking, it's the smell. Just feet from Groves' front door is a dumpster full of animal feces.

"Prevailing winds blowing right into my home," explains Groves.

Groves' has complained to local, state and federal agencies about the property of Samantha Miller. But, until recently little was ever done to improve the situation.

The controversy began in 2004 when Miller applied for a conditional use/home occupation permit from Columbia County. She had hoped to run a pet adoption business from her home.

The permit was denied, but county investigators and neighbors say Miller opened up shop. In 2006, she was cited for operating without the proper permit.

She challenged in court and lost, but her dogs remained. In the eyes of neighbors, nothing changed. They continued to complain and recently Miller was cited again for operating without the proper permit.

Miller, again, challenged in court and this time she won. She argued her 50 dogs were not for sale or adoption, but rather personal pets. The citation was dismissed.

Since the dismissal county investigators obtained photographic evidence that appears to show Miller operating as a dog adoption business.

In a report provided to the county commission, investigators describe images of Ms. Miller "loading dogs up at an 'All Terrier Rescue' adoption event at a Pet Smart store in Hillsboro, driving them directly to [her property] and unloading them there."

The photos were presented for the commissioners' consideration as they review a new license application filed by Samantha Miller.

In February, Miller applied for a kennel license which would allow her to house between 30 and 100 dogs on her residential property. The application was denied.

Citing violations at her home for improper solid waste disposal and improper wastewater disposal, the county rejected her bid.

Neighbors had hoped it would end their nightmare, but again Miller is appealing. Again, the dogs are remaining in place as the case is reviewed.

Groves worries the issue will never be resolved. As Miller exhausts her appeals, her dogs continue to bark.

Newschannel 8 attempted to contact Samantha Miller to discuss her property and her permit history. She did not appear to be at home during our visit. Calls to Miller and her attorney were not returned.