'We decided to list our home for sale': Residents fight proposed animal shelter in Marion County

Plans to turn a 140-acre property in Marion County into a large animal shelter have been delayed as some residents are challenging where the shelter should ultimately be built.

The land was donated to Marion County by a family, officials said. It's located off West Highway 316 in Ocala, Florida.

Marion County had proposed building a large animal shelter on the property, one that could eventually hold up to 400 dogs. Right now, the property is approved to house a little more than 200.

Marion County staff told Commissioners at a meeting on Tuesday that the shelter is overcrowded and that it needs more space to help more animals.

Residents who spoke at the meeting agreed that the shelter is needed and that a larger shelter is needed, but those who live nearby do not want it built in their farming community.

"As heartbroken as we are, we decided to list our home for sale yesterday. Would you want to live next to that? No? And neither do we," one woman said during the meeting.

Others who spoke during the meeting expressed concerns about the noise already with dogs barking, how the shelter would impact their property values, and about traffic on West Highway 316, a two-lane road. 

One man who lives near the property said he can already hear the dogs barking who live there, and is concerned if another 200 were brought in. 

Staff said if the plans were to be approved, it would take three to four years to build and open the larger shelter. 

Ultimately, commissioners decided to table the discussion to a future meeting. They also asked county staff to conduct a study about the potential noise.