The old stone schoolhouse down a long driveway off Greenspring Valley Road in northwest Baltimore County seemed the perfect spot for Follow My Lead, thought its owners. But neighbors and others consider the business a misfit in the tranquil valley community. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun video)

I am writing in response to the front page article about Baltimore County Bill 7-19 in order to clear up what I see as some details and nuances that were not included (“Baltimore County Council passes kennel bill but doesn't make it retroactive,” Apr. 1).

» The bill is not intended to stop this one kennel. It is intended to correct an error or omission from a previous law that did not included the word "commercial.” It is intended to protect neighborhoods.


» The owners of Follow My Lead are wonderful with dogs. This is not to be disputed. This is not what the issue is. The issue is that they bought the property under false pretenses, claiming it was for residential, family use. They told all the neighbors that they intended to use it for family visiting from out of town and then retire there themselves in a few years.

» The owners of Follow My Lead say that they did not use the property as a kennel until they were granted permission through special exception to do so. That is not true. There is photographic proof from Facebook posts that they housed and trained eight or so dogs (and perhaps more) on the property since last summer.

» In one paragraph in the article, the author refers to the special exception that states the kennel can have a maximum of 10 dogs during the day and eight at night under the current status. Two paragraphs down from this, the owner, Tiffany Stearns, states that "You're sitting out here right now with sixteen dogs on site and you can hear the birds.” Clearly, she is not following the rules set for the current situation.

» This building that Tiffany Stearns bought is an historically important African-American schoolhouse, and to have it used as a dog kennel is reprehensible.

» Councilwoman Cathy Bevins sees the situation as the rug being pulled out from under Follow My Lead. Rather, Follow My Lead is trying to pull the wool over the neighborhood's and county's eyes by taking advantage of a poorly worded law and loophole in the system.

Wesley Finnerty, Stevenson