More than one side to the story regarding animal shelter

Dear Editor,

I would like to clarify some points that have gotten muddled in regards to the NO Paws Rescue and its neighbors.

Recorded in 2005, is an easement for the use of Rich Ellis’ road, which is 25’ from his front door. There is no 60-year-old easement, recorded or otherwise.

Rich Ellis graciously granted Carrol Richards an easement and paid all costs himself, so the sale of her property, which had her access road running through it, could proceed. This easement was for her residential use.

From 2005 to 2014 there were no issues regarding the road. In 2014 Carrol started a dog rescue and the public started using Rich Ellis’ road.

In 2014 and on into 2015 there were several near misses where vehicles from the rescue were driving very fast, over 25 mph, down the road almost hitting cars with the Ellis grandchildren and infants in them. Rich Ellis spoke with Carrol about these matters many times. Carrol says she always tells people to drive slowly and the Ellises take her at her word. However the drivers continued to ignore Carrol’s requests and the speed limit signs on the road. What are Carrol and Rich Ellis supposed to do? Both stand on the road every day, all day, making sure everyone drives slowly?

In the fall of 2015 Rich Ellis told Carrol that he was going to place speed bumps on the road in order to slow down the traffic and control dust. This road belongs to 76-year-old Rich Ellis; and he has every right to try to control the use of that road, especially when a use creates dangerous situations for his family. Placing speed bumps to control traffic speed, safety and dust is not a form of harassment.

In March 2016 the speed bumps were placed on the road. Two weeks later Carrols’ attorney sent Rich Ellis a letter threatening to sue him.

Rich Ellis maintains this road at his own expense; the intended use was minimal residential traffic of 3-4 trips per day. The road was not built, designed, nor intended for public or commercial use. In the month of May 2016, over 600 vehicle trips were documented by trail cameras. These vehicles were all rescue related vehicles, not Ellis family vehicles. When Rich granted an easement to his portion of the road in 2005, he never imagined his graciousness would allow his family’s privacy, security, health and safety to be compromised.

The road in question crosses four property lines. Carrol has an easement with only one owner, Rich Ellis. The other road owners have allowed Carrol “neighborly accommodation” use only, which does not include public or commercial use.

The first approximate 150 ft. of this road off of Hwy. 97 is owned by a neighbor, who placed a gate on their property. For security purposes, they do not want the public driving across their property. Would you want the public driving across your property? Something you bought and paid for with your hard earned money? Their security gate and fencing have been damaged and the public has been told they don’t have to shut the gate. Would you want this done to you? It is so unfortunate that these neighbors have been treated in such a disrespectful way by rescue supporters. Remember these neighbors have allowed “neighborly accommodation” use. This certainly is not a form of harassment.

Rich and Mary Ellis have been cursed at, called the most vulgar names, shown rude hand gestures and have even been threatened with physical violence by rescue supporters while standing in their yard; in their yard, not the road where an easement is claimed. This is clearly harassment. Even after being threatened with physical violence by a rescue supporter, and yes the sheriff was called, the Ellis Family did not take legal action. Recently legal action has been taken against the Ellis Family for allegedly harassing Carrol. It is difficult to understand how a neighbor (unrelated to the Ellis Family) gating and fencing their private property, or Rich installing speed bumps and security cameras, equates to harassment.

Everyone who owns land has the right to control who comes onto their property. It is your right as a property owner. Would you want to be treated like this on your property?

At the end of the road is a bridge; with the majority of the bridge being on a neighbor’s property. A sign was place before the bridge to let people know that “the road and bridge” at that point are on private property and using them is at their own risk. In other words, if you use it, it’s your responsibility if something happens, not the property owner’s responsibility. This neighbor has allowed Carrol “neighborly accommodation” use only.

The Ellises have lived on these properties for 60 years. Long before there was highway noise from center line rumble strips and long before helicopters were used in orchards. They built their homes with their own hands and take pride in their properties; and now are being told to just move. Would you just move out of your home if you were told to?

The Ellis families are all animal lovers, our pets are family members. All animals should be loved and cared for. So in the right location a rescue is a great idea. This is not the right location. It is heartbreaking the damage this situation has caused, through public bad-mouthing of neighbors by people whose properties are not affected. Sixty-year-old relationships, high school relationships and neighborly relationships have all been damaged; and for what? Dogs, that can’t help you when your car won’t start, or when you’re stuck in the mud or snow, or you’ve hurt yourself. Your neighbor could have helped you. I guess the old saying is true, “you have to be a neighbor, to have neighbors.”

The Ellis Family