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Liverpool: KittyCorner case postponed again

The KittyCorner court case has been postponed again.

The highly anticipated court date was set for September, rescheduled for December and again for January. Now it will likely be on the village court docket on Feb. 3.

The case has been dragging on for two and a half years.

On Dec. 18, 2006, the Liverpool Village Board of Trustees instituted a moratorium on applications for special permits to operate animal-rescue operations or pet kennels within the village.

That move came after Village Codes-Enforcement Officer Kurt Field had cited the owners of KittyCorner, 306 Second St., and Greyhounds of Central New York, at 305 Third St., for operating kennels in residential areas without a special permit, during the summer of 2006. Each operation had applied to the Liverpool Planning Board for permits, but then withdrew their applications in early-December 2006.

Instead, KittyCorner and Greyhounds of CNY hired lawyer Dirk Oudemool of Syracuse, who will argue the case before Village Justice Anthony LaValle.

Then, on Feb. 20, 2007, the Liverpool Village Board voted 3-1 to expand the village code's definition of "kennel" to include any property housing more than six cats.

The code previously defined kennels as properties which housed animals for commercial boarding or sale, and specifically targeted properties which harbored more than four dogs six months old or older.

KittyCorner's attorney will attack the village government's position with a two-pronged argument.

"I have two contentions," Oudemool said. "One, the law they adopted was improperly adopted, so it's invalid, and two, even if it was valid, it does not apply to my clients. They have non-conforming use rights under the zoning laws. In other words, my clients are grandfathered in. You can't back-date the law."

Representing the board will be new Village Attorney John Langey.

Mayor Marlene Ward has said most village residents favor the restriction on cats as well as dogs. Real-estate professionals have contacted the mayor, she said, suggesting that village property values could be negatively affected by too liberal an approach to the animal issue.

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