1501 Gum Branch RD.


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2014 Spring Newsletter


Part 1

It’s been a while…

Perhaps you noticed a lack of Newsletters over the past seven years. Please accept my apologies. I will explain below. Some of you may have even forgotten you signed up for the newsletter. (We DO NOT send spam, so if you are receiving this, it can only be from your sign up).

Labpups.com emerges from the Black Hole

I am very happy to report that seven years of pure heck has just come to an end for Labpups.com. We are off and running again as of April 4th. There are so many new and exciting items to report that I will have to spread them out over the next few Newsletters.

How did Labpups.com and the Wood Family end up with a seven year challenge? Let me briefly explain.

After many years of building our business, our neighborhood took in one of those individuals that makes life more interesting. On his move in day, I walked over and invited him to our upcoming Lab Jamboree. His response? If I want to get to know my %$!!@ neighbors, I’ll knock on your %$!@# door! As it turns out, this individual was and still is a City of Charlotte employee. He very quickly turned in dozens of challenges to our Grandfathered property status, which led to Code Enforcement nearly shuttering our operations. This was odd, since it was the City of Charlotte that located and moved us to our current location, after taking our original farm for the new runway by Eminent Domain procedures. But government is government. Very little actually makes sense. We now live in a world where a single activist can cause great and extended misery.

After nearly $400,000 of infrastructure investment over the years

Moving was just not an option, especially in the economic condition our country was enduring.

Almost all our programs disappeared – the Foster program, the Day Boarding program, our exercise field, our Canine Last Chance Flight Program. Along with that, our electricity and running water disappeared. Hundreds of Labradors that we normally would have accepted for Rescue and Rehabilitation undoubtedly were euthanized, as we operated the Last Chance Program. I am saddened that one individual’s actions could be responsible for the death of so many beautiful Labradors. On a personal level, my family lost peace of mind, security, and the ability to add to our family.

Every moment of our days was spent trying to survive

After having spent thousands of hours chasing a rezoning outcome, while the same neighbor launched attack after attack through numerous government agencies. The fact that many of these attacks were launched during his normal working hours for the City of Charlotte was pure irony. (He’s a maintenance man). He attempted to recruit other neighbors to move against us, but he remained the sole opposition to the end.

We were forced to hire veterinarians to prove that our dogs and horses were in good condition

After nearly 60 inspections by various agencies over the seven year period. There was not a single finding of fault from any agency – in fact, we received wonderful letters from Animal Control, veterinarians, and other inspectors.

There was just not time nor heart for many newsletters.

So how do you fight City Hall with no money? Enter attorney Collin Brown, a man we will never forget. He took our case Pro Bono. There were still expenses, filing fees of thousands of dollars, etc. but no more attorney fees. And enter City Councilman James Mitchell. He championed our case, meeting with our neighbors numerous times. Enter our close neighbors, who began a letter writing and phone call campaign on our behalf for years. The entire Coulwood Board signed petitions asking the city to let us stay. (Click Here). Enter Mark Ballestra, head of Animal Care and Control, who penned a wonderful letter of support (Click Here) and made phone calls on our behalf. Thanks to Mark and his staff for their dozens of visits to our establishment. And enter some of our customers and friends who knew what was going on, for their letters, phone calls and personal appearances at our televised zoning meetings. Thanks to all of them, and their undying support, for our being here today.

Finally a favorable outcome!

City Council voted unanimously August 17th, 2014, to grant our petition requesting a new zoning status. Not only did they give us protection from the activist neighbor, they gave us permission to greatly expand!


So we restarted our business August 18th. But our challenges were not over.

November 22nd, Code Enforcement came calling out of the blue. As it turns out, our lovely neighbor/City Employee turned in technical complaints regarding our already approved zoning petition. And so we spent the next 133 days and $48,000 more defending ourselves.

As of April 4th, we are once again in the clear, with a letter from Code Enforcement stating they are satisfied with us, and do not plan to bother us again. Now we can begin rebuilding the wonderful programs that will serve both our customers and their Labradors.

THANK YOU EVERYONE that participated in saving our family business. We will always be grateful for your willingness to make a difference.

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