Woman still in limbo about whether Westfield, HOA will let her keep living with 6 rescue greyhounds

WESTFIELD, Ind. – A Westfield woman is still in limbo about whether the city and her homeowner’s association will let her keep living with a half-dozen dogs.

Juliana Robertson owns six rescue greyhounds, three more than the city and her HOA allows. She hoped to be granted an exemption to that rule Tuesday night by the Westfield Board of Zoning Appeals.

For more than an hour, neighbors supporting and opposing Robertson made their concerns known to the board. However, the board decided to hold off on making a decision.

For the past 11 years, Robertson says she’s owned between three and six rescue greyhounds. But, she says only recently have her neighbors in Westfield’s Villages of Oak Manor complained.

“Well it seems a little dramatic, and so yes in that way it’s surprising,” said Robertson.

Both the city and her HOA say a person can only own up to three animals. Right now, Robertson has six.

“I’m hoping that the city says I can stay here for two more years, and kind of let this thing resolve itself naturally,” said Robertson.

During Tuesday’s meeting, supporters highlighted Robertson’s commitment to her animals.

“No one could love them better than her,” said a local veterinarian and friend of Robertson’s. “They are her life, they are her family.”

Unhappy neighbors described a smelly yard in disrepair.

“Just this past spring we could not sit out there because the smell was so bad,” said one woman who lives behind Robertson.

Robertson asked that we not film her yard, telling us she’s in the process of making improvements.

Meanwhile, an attorney representing the HOA argued that Robertson accepted the neighborhood’s rules when she bought her house.

“When the petitioner purchased her home approximately ten years ago, she agreed to be bound by the rules,” said attorney Stephen Donham.

Under the variance proposed by Robertson’s attorney, she would be allowed to keep the animals for another two years, assuming that at least some would pass away and not be replaced. Despite favorable recommendations by the city planning department, the issue was ultimately tabled for thirty days.

“I think tonight you’ve heard Julie is a well-reasoned person,” said Robertson’s attorney Greg Sallee. “And I  think she’ll be reasonable in negotiating a compromise.”

Sallee says Robertson now meet one-on-one with the HOA to try to reach a compromise. They hope to reach a resolution by the board’s next meeting next month.

If they can’t, Robertson says she is prepared to build a new house away from the city.

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