An endangered species on our land?

In April 2006, we made a trip to FL to meet with our builder. For my husband, this was the first time seeing the land in person (I had made a trip with our dog Molly in July 2005 and brought back photos & videos). For both of us, the trip turned into a tragedy.

We had chosen to board our two dogs, Molly & Moose, at Granbar Kennels in Charlotte, while we were away. The kennel disregarded our instructions with regard to their care, and because of this, both of our dogs died while in this kennel’s “care.” We had adopted Molly 5 years previously and Moose 2.5 years before. Both dogs were young (Molly 6 1/2 and Moose 3), and neither deserved to die yet. It was a terrible tragedy for us, and the kennel has yet to even offer an apology to us or admit their fault in our pups’ deaths. To add insult to injury, the kennel only thought to leave us a voicemail informing us about this 3 days after Molly died. It cast a shadow on our trip, to say the least, and we ended up cutting our mini-vacation short to rush home in time to see Moose before he died.

While we were there, however, our builder Woody very kindly took us out to breakfast and then came out to the lot with us to help us site the house. We have quite a few large, old live oak trees on our land, and, though having a big backyard for the dogs was a priority, saving our large trees won out. We ended up moving the house a bit farther back than we had originally planned, in order to keep the oaks (see site plan below).

Site Plan

In our journey around the lot, Woody pointed out four gopher tortoise burrows to us. These are apparently an endangered species in Florida, so we had to apply for permits to trap and remove the tortoises. Woody agreed to check the traps daily, a necessary part of tortoise trapping.

We finally got the permit in late June, but, because of heavy rain, the bucket traps kept filling up with water. Any tortoise falling in these would surely drown, so Woody has arranged with the landscaping company to use a backhoe operator to dig up the four burrows when it is time to clear the site. The tortoises will be relocated onto the 2 acres of wetlands in the rear of our lot.


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