Bakers Basin site to go to the dogs

Planning Board approves new day-care center for canines.

By:Lea Kahn Staff Writer
Fido and Spot may find out that camping is a treat at Camp Bow Wow — the latest canine day-care center to be approved by the township Planning Board.
   The board unanimously approved the plans for the doggie day-care center Monday, proposed for a portion of the 49,600-square-foot building that houses Millner Kitchens at 231 Bakers Basin Road.
   In 2004, the Planning Board approved All Good Dogs Daycare Inc., for a site at 160 Basin Road. Work is under way at that doggie day-care center, which is expected to open in March, according to the company’s Web site.
   Camp Bow Wow is a franchise that already has 20 "camps," said Sherri Hayes, co-owner with Randy DeFazio of the Lawrence location with. Ms. Hayes added that she hopes the Lawrence camp will open in May.
   Ms. Hayes and Ms. DeFazio, who operate a Camp Bow Wow franchise in Bridgewater in Somerset County, said they decided on Lawrence after studying the demographics — household income and population density.
   The Planning Board heard most of the applicants’ presentation at its Jan. 9 meeting, but decided to hold off on final action until the applicants could explain how they would deal with the animals’ excrement. The board was concerned about runoff into a nearby stream.
   The applicants told the board Monday that they would comply with a plan similar to the one approved by the Planning Board for All Good Dogs Daycare. The plan calls for removing the existing blacktop and replacing it with a mix of limestone and gravel, so the excrement and the cleanser used by Camp Bow Wow would be filtered before it could reach an underground aquifer.
   At the Planning Board’s Jan. 9 meeting, Ms. Hayes said the kennel could accommodate up to 60 dogs, including 52 boarders. The dogs that stayed overnight would be lodged in "cabins" — fenced-in areas inside the building. Although no one would be at the facility after it closes for the day, the premises would be monitored by a security system.
   Dog owners can drop off their pets at the day-care center from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Boarders may stay after those hours. During the day, there are four employees.
   Fees range from $15 for a half day of camp to $25 for a full day for one dog, and $35 per night for one dog, according to Camp Bow Wow’s flier. The $35 fee includes day care and boarding accommodations. A half day of camp for two dogs costs $25 and a full day is $40. It costs $60 per night to board two dogs.
   The fees for grooming start at $25. A nail trim is $10 and the cost of haircuts varies by dog breed, according to the Camp Bow Wow flier.
   A typical day begins with play time and then breakfast, Ms. Hayes said. The dogs play some more, and then it is time for lunch and a nap. After some more play time, the dogs have dinner. They may play again before they are sent off to their cabins — if they are boarding, she said.
   Owners who are dropping their pets off for day care come and go during the day, Ms. Hayes said. Some of the dogs stay for a half-day and others are there for the full day, she said.
   Would-be campers are screened, she said. Aggressive dogs or dogs that exhibit undesirable behaviors, such as excessive barking, are not permitted to enroll in the camp, she added.