PEPPERELL — Not one, but two dog-related businesses will pitch their plea for approval to the Board of Selectmen on July 17.
Operation Delta Dog, which has trained more than 30 homeless dogs to be service dogs for veterans, wants to locate in Pepperell Place. The building Mill Street houses several businesses and is owned and managed by the Lexvest Group.
The Dog Training, currently run by owner Lisa Forbes at her home, is looking to open a training location for private clients at the former Pepperell Music Center on Hotel Place.
Lauren Burbridge, director of Operation Delta Dog, provided an overview of the nonprofit’s plans in Pepperell via email.
Delta Dogs has no physical location at this time. Training is done at remote sites and in homes. They have no storage space for donations.
“After four years in operation, our strategic planning has led us to the conclusion that we will be able to better serve both veterans and dogs if we maintained a physical business location,” she wrote.
The group plans to have a dedicated handicap accessible training area for two to six veteran and dog teams at a time, private offices and storage space at Pepperell Place.
If approved, they look to open in September.
Up to three dogs at a time might live in Pepperell Place while they are trained. They would have direct access to a fenced, outside area. Three staff members who live within five miles could respond quickly if the remote monitoring shows any noise or disturbance. An emergency evacuation plan will be put in place.
Forbes wants to have a central location to train dogs and an agility course that clients can rent. The average class will have between five and eight dogs and there is plenty of parking.
Puppy play groups and one-on-one instruction will be available. There are no plans to board dogs.
The former music store is almost turnkey for her business. “The only thing we are looking at doing is putting down some rubber matting,” Forbes said. “It’s a nice, big open space.”
She sees a need for her service. The number of dog licenses in town has risen. “More and more people are out and about with their dogs and they need to have well-behaved dogs,” Forbes said.
She began Three Dog Training in 2014 after spending 20 years working at shelters.
Three Dog Training and Operation Delta Dog are both seeking special permits, said Town Administrator Mark Andrews. Property owners within a radius of the sites were notified about the hearings and town boards had a chance to review and comment on the applications in advance of the hearing.
Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.