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Progress Reports

Progress Reports

We thought it would be fun for everyone to read about the progress we’ve made over time. So enjoy these progress reports and newsletters below.

7/8/22: Initial Status Report:

Hello dog lovers!

With the recent tragic events happening in Highland Park, I thought it might be nice to hear some good news about how Furever Home Dog Sanctuary (“FHDS”) is getting closer to opening up its doors to rescue dogs from shelters and provide them with a permanent home to enjoy life!

After searching for land for over 6 months, we have located a potential location for our sanctuary.  It is a 10-acre piece of land located in Bristol, Wisconsin.  We are working with the Village of Bristol to try and secure approval for a Conditional Use Permit, which will allow us to open the Sanctuary on the tract of land.  Here is what we have done to move towards this goal:

  • Formed a Board of Directors
  • Recruited volunteers to be a part of our various committees
  • Obtained our EIN 
  • Obtained our 501c3 tax designation in June, 2022 (yay)
  • Convinced the lawyers for the Village of Bristol to change the zoning ordinance to allow our tract of land to house a dog sanctuary.  This required us to convince the Village to conform their laws to the Kenosha County’s laws and ordinances so that our 10.02 GROSS acres would count towards the zoning, instead of our 9.77 NET acres (land must be 10 acres to qualify for a dog kennel/sanctuary);
  • Hired an architect to design plans for the dog sanctuary.  This process is ongoing, and we will hopefully have a rough plan in place by the time we need to tender our proposal to the Village on July 12th.
  • Hired a civil engineer to conduct a water treatment plan (to determine how water runoff will affect the land and wetlands on the property).  This process will take a bit longer than the architecture plans, but we are hoping to have something sufficient to share by the July 12th date.
  • Obtained the signature from the owner of the land to proceed with our Application for Conditional Use Permit

This is an exciting time for FHDS, and I hope to keep all of you up to date with all of our progress.  Wish us luck when we present our vision to the Village Board at the end of August.  Hopefully, things go well at the meeting, and we are able to enter into an agreement with the owners of the land.   We’ll be sure to keep you up to date.

Hey there Committee Members!  I wanted to update you on the status of Furever Home Dog Sanctuary.

After searching for land for over 9 months, we have located a few potential locations for our sanctuary.  However, after we have gone through the initial application process with each village, neighbors have objected to our location and therefore, we have not been able to proceed to actually finalize any locations.  We have learned that McHenry County has a more relaxed analysis and that neighbors cannot object if the structure to be used for dogs is not within 100 feet of the property lines.  Now we just need to find a piece of land that fits that description so we can move forward on the land acquisition.

Thanks to each of you and your dedication to FHDS, we have accomplished a lot so far in its maiden year.  Some highlights include:

  • Formed a Board of Directors
  • Recruited volunteers to be a part of our various committees
  • Obtained our EIN 
  • Obtained our 501c3 tax designation in June, 2022
  • Hired an architect to design plans for the dog sanctuary, and have preliminary plans in place when we find the land.
  • Hired a civil engineer to conduct a water treatment plan (to determine how water runoff will affect the land and wetlands on the property). 
  • Held our first fundraiser
  • Created a website and a Facebook page

This is an exciting time for FHDS, and I hope to keep all of you up to date with all of our progress.  Wish us luck when we present our vision to the McHenry County Hearing Officer in late November for a piece of land we are considering.    Hopefully, things go well at the meeting, and we are able to enter into an agreement with the owners of the land.   We’ll be sure to keep you up to date.

Well, a lot has happened since I last emailed everyone.  

In October, we went before another Board of Directors in Brighton, Wisconsin to obtain a Conditional Use Permit for a second potential property for the Sanctuary.  This time the land was a 20-acre parcel with an existing large pole barn and house.  Well, when we went before the Board many of the neighbors came out and again objected to us.  They were quite vocal and threw out everything from concerns that we would create traffic jams, to fears that PETA would be dropping by to conduct protests (really?!).  Long story short, we were shot down once again.  

I have to admit, immediately following that last experience in October, I felt dejected and disheartened that we would be unable to find a location to create our sanctuary anytime soon.  Despite this letdown, I ventured onward and again began my search for the ideal property (that very night I may add).  

Over the past 3 months, I have looked at hundreds of properties online, but all of them were near residential housing, and we did not want to go through all of the effort to apply, only to get rejected because of neighbors.  So then my brother, Martin, reminded me that I had told him that McHenry County has a specific zoning provision for Animal Care Shelters.  I reached out to the county and they confirmed that our sanctuary would fall under this category.  They also let us know that, so long as we stayed at least 100 feet from the lot lines, we could pretty much proceed with building our structure without any further approvals from the county.  From that point on, our focus has been primarily in McHenry County.  

I searched for many, and Erin, Debbie (our realtor) and I have visited several that we thought could work for us.  In November, we came upon a property in Richmond that seemed pretty ideal.  It had a small residence for the caretakers, and an existing pole barn that was massive (100 x 200 feet).  The only challenge was that the existing pole barn was within the 100-foot lot line so we need a variance from the county in order to use it for the dogs.  To obtain a variance, we needed to appear before a Hearing Officer.  He would listen to evidence from those in support of the variance, and from those against it.  On Tuesday of this week, we appeared before that Hearing Officer.  I was joined by Debbie, Erin, Melissa (who owns a dog boarding facility in Antioch), Nancy (who owns 6 Senior dogs), Heidi (our Treasurer who has also volunteered at dog shelters for years), and Chris (our architect).  I was so impressed by the unity and passion shown by our team members.   They spoke so eloquently and presented so well during the 90-minute hearing.  A neighbor adjacent to the property appeared in opposition and complained about such things as sound, smell, and traffic, and we addressed each and every concern with specific evidence and examples.  At the end of the meeting, the Hearing Officer said that he needed time to review everything, and continued the hearing until January 10th.  I am cautiously optimistic that we will get a recommendation from the Hearing Officer with perhaps some minor modifications to our request.   After the hearing, the Hearing Officer will then make a recommendation to the Board of Directors (about 20 members) for McHenry County.  If the Hearing Officer recommends us, we need the McHenry County Board to then vote in favor of the variance (51%).  If the Hearing Officer does not recommend us, we will need to obtain a 75% vote of the Board.

Although there are currently a couple of other properties that might work for the sanctuary, this Richmond property appears to be the best fit.  Paws crossed that we get the recommendation, and I will keep everyone up to date with our progress.  Enjoy the Holidays!  

Guess what everyone? 

This week we finalized our presentation to the McHenry County Hearing Officer to request our variance to maintain our sanctuary on the potential 5-acre property in Richmond.  Following the hearing, and with some acceptable concessions we made in conjunction with the County, we received our recommendation! This means that our request for a variance will be considered part of the “Consent Agenda” when we appear before the McHenry County Board for a vote on February 21st.  We need a majority of the County Board Members to support our request.  If we are able to obtain approval for our variance we will be able to proceed to purchase the property and begin our adventure!  I know many of you have been wondering when FHDS will finally get started in its mission, and I can tell you that if we are successful with this variance, we will be well on our way.

I want to thank all of you for being patient during this whole process.  I also want to thank those of you who have donated to the organization.  The support we have received has been so impressive, especially during this time of flux.  It is very much needed and appreciated as we have had an architect and attorney fees; and once we can move forward with a piece of property, the expenses will increase astronomically.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and I will be happy to respond. 

If you have received this email, it means you and I have met in some capacity over the past 25 years.  

Whether it is through my work as your attorney, a colleague that I had or continue to have a working relationship with, a friend, a close relative, a neighbor, or someone I recently met over the past 16 months while trying to bring my dream to a reality and who shares my love and passion for dogs.  I wanted to send this email out to everyone who may be interested in sharing the news and updates about my efforts to find and purchase land for my dog sanctuary for Furever Home Dog Sanctuary.      

In my last email, I promised to update people following the February 21st vote for the variance for the Richmond property that would allow us to use the existing large pole barn on the property.  I would have sent out an update immediately after the vote; however, there were some complications that came up following the County’s vote.  

First the good news.  After 3 months of trying to obtain approval for the variance (filing, then amending our application with the County, appearing before the Hearing Officer on two separate occasions spread out over 2 months, and contacting each of the members of the County Board to explain and convince them of our vision and purpose for the Sanctuary) the McHenry County Board unanimously voted to grant FHDS the variance which will allow us to use 100% of an already existing 100×200 foot pole barn. We will also be able to use this space for exam rooms, office areas, introduction rooms, and many other options.  After the County vote was completed we thought, “great, the hard part is over.”  Boy were we wrong.

Over the next 4 weeks, we had to push and push for the Sellers to be reasonable with the sale of the land/property.  The Sellers were extremely unreasonable and deceitful when it came to negotiating in good faith.   On top of all that, they tried to hide violations that existed on the property and were refusing to cooperate with providing documents that were necessary to remedy some existing issues on the property.  At one point we threatened to walk away from the deal because the Sellers were being so unreasonable.  We actually did walk away, but were then called back by the Sellers two days later to re-enter settlement negotiations, which we did.  And if that wasn’t enough, we had to replace our first real estate lawyer in the middle of negotiations due to an injury he sustained.  Fortunately, our new lawyer, Brian Gryll, was amazing.   

Suffice it to say, these past few months have been extremely challenging, and have tested our resolve.  So now, you ask, where do we stand?  Well, we actually have a closing date on the property in approximately 2 weeks.  The property is a beautiful piece of land, which can be viewed here: 

Hopefully, in approximately 2 weeks, you will receive a follow-up email from me confirming that our 15-month quest to find a property for Furever Home Dog Sanctuary has been completed, and we can finally start preparations to begin the dog-rescuing, rehabilitation, fostering, and adopting!  And what’s great is that each dog we pull from a shelter will be able to live on our 5 acres of paradise until and if they are fostered or adopted.

I want to thank all of you for your patience over these past 15 months.  Your positivity and support throughout this entire process have been overwhelming, and I have to say, this has really helped keep us keep going and persevere through so many obstacles. 

As always, I am attaching a history of our progress throughout the past year so everyone can see the progress we have made.

Thank you again for all of your love and support.   Hope to send an update in a couple of weeks!

Hey there dog lovers!

It has been several months since I’ve sent an email update to all of our Furever Friends (that’s you by the way).  

In case you have not been watching weekly updates on our Facebook page (just search “FHDSdogs” in Facebook and there we are!) our Social Media/Marketing Committee (“SMMC”), Fundraising Committee, and Construction Committee have been busy.

SMMC has been helping Furever Home Dog Sanctuary gain awareness and get the word out by posting updates about Furever Home Dog Sanctuary’s participation in the Spring Grove and Lake Forest Days parades this past Summer.  We have also had fun posting all of my progress up at the property using all sorts of power tools, landscaping machines and whatever it takes to clear the land.  More photos to follow so keep an eye on our Facebook page.  

The fundraising committee is planning our Capital Campaign Kick-Off event to raise money for our construction build.  The event is Sunday, September 10th from 1 to 4 pm. We would love your help to try to get the word out.  Can each of you please forward a copy of the flyer to at least 5 of your friends, colleagues and/or family members.  The best way to register for the event is by clicking the link on the flyer below.  This event is going to be so much fun!  We are also looking for silent auction/raffle items for our event so if any of you have any anything you can donate, or know anyone who may be willing to donate something please let me know.  We also have various sponsorship opportunities available for the event.  I have attached a sheet listing the sponsorship opportunities if any of you or anyone you know may be interested in sponsoring the event to help raise money for Furever Home Dog Sanctuary.

And the Construction Committee has been hard at work interviewing the various architects who may be the right fit to build the ultimate structure to house all of the dogs we are going to rescue.  This week we actually just decided that Furever Home Dog Sanctuary is going to work with the architectural firm, Kioxin (https://kioxin.com/).  Kioxin has a tremendous reputation, but more important, Kioxin will work hand-in-hand with Furever Home Dog Sanctuary in designing the incredible home we have in store for so many dogs in need.  

If anyone wants to visit the property just email me and we can schedule a time to meet up.  We also have volunteer opportunities for anyone who wants to work on preparing the property for our 4-legged friends.  Feel free to email me if you wish to help!

See you all at the September 10th event!

David Kerpel
Founder of Furever Home Dog Sanctuary

Richmond, Illinois
+1 773-520-3568