Janesville25.7°

Orfordville couple fighting to keep their nine dogs

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Ted Sullivan
December 14, 2009
— When Gary Anliker and his wife moved into their Orfordville home, they had one dog.

Then they got a second, a third and a fourth. They didn’t stop until they had 10 in their brood.


Since then, neighbors have complained about barking.


Police have ticketed the couple 19 times for having more than three dogs.


Residents have spoken at board meetings against the couple’s attempts to get a kennel license.


The village also has filed a complaint in Rock County Court seeking an order to remove the pets.


Despite the controversy, Anliker and his wife, Jeanne Tomlin, refuse to back down.


“I don’t think they have the right to tell me I can’t have these animals in my house,” Anliker said. “Do we live in a dictatorship here where we get told what we can and can’t do?”


The dogs, currently nine in all, include several varieties of terriers, a Chihuahua, a miniature pincher and husky mixes, Anliker said. Most were adopted or bought at a pet store.


They’ve had the dogs in their house at 308 Olson Drive for years.


The couple loves their pets like children, but police and neighbors said they are a public nuisance.


Police Chief Dave Wickstrum said complaints about excessive barking started 18 months ago.


The couple wouldn’t cooperate.


Police then began issuing tickets at $109 a pop.


“It’s not robbing banks, but it’s a village, and they have serious ordinances that are for a better community,” Wickstrum said. “If everybody had 10 dogs, it wouldn’t’ be a pretty sight. The village has to enforce the ordinances.”


Judith Lechelt, who lives next door to the couple, said she has complained to police and board members about the dogs.


“It gets aggravating when I go out on my deck and get barked at by these little ratty dogs,” she said. “I try to be a good neighbor, but it’s just a sore subject. These guys are doing whatever they want.”


Neighbors can’t understand how the couple have been allowed to keep their dogs this long, Lechelt said.


“I’m upset. I don’t know what’s going on,” she said. “It’s just a matter of justice and what’s fair.”


Anliker and Tomlin asked the village for a kennel license to keep their dogs, but they were denied. They appealed the village’s decision to Rock County Court and lost. They are appealing the Rock County Court decision.


Their second court battle includes the village’s complaint.


The complaint states that owning a large number of dogs is “detrimental to healthful and comfortable life.”


It states that the dogs have “interfered with the neighbors’ quality of life and their safety due to the dogs barking and getting loose.”


Anliker denies those accusations.


“I don’t think they’re a real nuisance,” he said. “Most of these complaints have been drummed up.”


The couple can’t believe the village and some residents are in a fit over their pets, Anliker said.


He described the “small town” board members as having “delusions of grandeur.”


“I think they would have something better to do with their time and money,” he said. “Some people just don’t have anything better to do other than to (complain) about what somebody else has.”


Anliker said he would never give up his dogs, regardless of how his ongoing court battles turn out.


“I’d rather sell my house and move somewhere out in the country,” he said.



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