Final Hearing: K9 Rescue Home does not receive a permit

Yuma, Ariz. - A request for a special use permit for Old Souls Animal Rescue and Retirement Home in a residential area in Yuma has been denied.

On Monday night, the Yuma County Board of Supervisors voted 3-to-2 following a public hearing to deny the request from Paula and Issac Rivadeneira, the applicant’s and owner’s of the rescue home. 

The nonprofit organization had been operated since April 2015 out of the Rivadeneiras’ home at 11262 S. Holland Ave., rescuing geriatric, special needs, and hospice animals.

Last month a petition was set up to help save Old Souls K9 Rescue. It now has over 305,000 signatures through an online advocacy group. However, most neighbors within the Bunting Estates subdivision in Yuma had signed a petition against the special use permit. 

Many Buntin Estates residents argued that the operation of the animal rescue near residential homes brought excessive noise, smell, and traffic.  

Beatrice Cane, a resident of the Buntin Estates for over 16 years and lives 300 square feet from the Old Souls home, said she opposes the special use permit. “I purchased my home to be in a residential neighborhood and not in an area to be zoned to allow businesses. Right cause; wrong location.” 

Other opponents said the moral ethics ran by this business and Facebook posts left by their supporters on Old Souls page has garnered a nasty outbreak causing them to feel unsafe in their neighborhood.

“Now we got people driving up and down the streets. You guys have seen photos of people chasing others down the streets because they oppose us,” said a 15 year resident of the Buntin Estates. 

A volunteer at the Old Souls K9 Rescue said during the meeting that it took two years of the Rivadeneira’s living in this neighborhood before anybody said anything to them.

“It was through a lawsuit that the next-door neighbor sought a harassment injunction against them,” said the volunteer. 

District 2 Supervisor Russell McCloud proposed a permit giving Old Souls 18-months to either make amends with neighbors or find a new location. 

District 2 Supervisor McCloud, District 1 Supervisor Martin Porchas and District 5 Supervisor Lynne Pancrazi were in favor. But the board chair, Tony Reyes from District 4 and District 3 Supervisor Darren Simmons voted no, eliminating the proposal. 

At least four out of the five supervisors had to say “Aye” to get the permit approved. 

“Throughout my years in office here we have always taken into account on what neighbors say and whether this was a situation created for lack of communication. Whether this was a situation created because it was the right thing and the wrong place,”said Reyes. “I’m going to have to go with the neighborhood.” 

The purpose of permit was so that Old Souls could have up to 18 dogs. The current zoning caps them at five.


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