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Pit bull rehab center owner wants to house dogs on 22-acre property

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The owner of Pit Sisters, a Jacksonville organization that rehabilitates pit bulls, wants to house all the dogs on her 22-acre property in Nassau County, but officials say her property is zoned as residential and that she would be using the property for commercial use.

Jen Deane, the owner of Pit Sisters, said the conflict began after she moved into her new home and she began building tiny homes to house her dogs. By law, she can have up to 49 dogs on her property.

A newspaper published an article about what she was building.

"Somebody got wind of it and immediately said, 'You can't do that,'" she said.

Deane said she was told she had to file a conditional use application, so she did. She then attended a developmental review committee meeting, where she said she was told:

"I had to pave all of Marigold Lane," Deane said. "That's a $100,000 project. Why would I do that? They're viewing us as commercial."

Nassau County manager Mike Mullin said Deane planned to have volunteers work at the property.

"Based on everything she provided ... it fit under the commercial designation of conditional use," Mullin said.

"We're not doing adoption events out here. We're not doing fundraiser events. We're not open to the general public," Deane said. "All I want to do is house dogs out here and have volunteers help me.”

Deane said she's looking for an attorney who specializes in land use to help her decide the next move.

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