Crematorium has daycare owners fuming

April 21, 2009 4:39:40 PM PDT
A proposal to build a pet crematorium in one Fort Bend County neighborhood has some residents, including a daycare owner, upset. The owner of the Funshine Daycare Center that is downwind from the proposed business off Pitts Road worries there could be a health risk for the children she cares for if the business moves in just down the street.

The owner of the pet business had to apply for a State of Texas air permit. She says it meets or exceeds all the requirements and there's no risk to anyone, but two blocks downwind is a daycare. Its owners aren't so certain what will be coming down the lane.

It's hard to imagine a more peaceful setting. Just off Highway 90 on the outskirts of Richmond are pastures full of cow. The Funshine Daycare Center is no doubt full of wonderful children. It's here on Melody Lane, but there is no sweet song at this corner. Instead, it's just the Pitts.

"It started with a letter a parent sent us," said Funshine owner Rhonda LeLaurin.

A letter that contained a copy of an application to run an animal carcass incinerator.

To which her husband, Matt LeLaurin, said, "What? You're kidding? Why?"

Why? Because Cathy Dalrymple wants to. We tracked her down as she was driving to the new facility she hopes to open within a month.

"I've been in the pet care business a long time. I've lost my own pets. I want to help people in this time of need," said Dalrymple.

Why isn't really the question people want answered here. They want to know what is going to happen inside this building and outside.

"My gosh, what kind of odors? That's the first thing you think of," said Matt.

Dalrymple said there will be "no smell."

The owner of the Florida company that made her BLP 500, a $60,000 state-of-the-art machine, told us there would be no fumes, no smell from her building. He said if you didn't know it was there, you couldn't tell it was there. Even that doesn't dissolve the uncertainty out here.

No matter what the new neighbor says, it just might not fit in.

"I live next door. I just don't want a crematorium in my neighborhood. I am sorry. That's the way I feel," said resident Dorothea Morton

There hasn't been a whole lot of talking over these fences about the project and the biggest piece missing here may be answers or even conversation.

Neighbors found out about the plans from a tiny print notice in the Houston Chronicle, not a local paper. Since then, they talked to each other, but didn't talk to the crematorium owner until Tuesday after we stopped by.

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