Two dog owners with different situations but both wanting three dogs lost their requests to council Tuesday.
Shannon Kerr, who had two dogs of her own when she took in a Chihuahua her mother couldn’t keep, made a tearful appeal to council after her neighbours complained about her canine collection.
A second woman who has two dogs but wanted the City’s permission to get a third didn’t even get to put the question to her neighbours.
Kerr and her husband are both on disability and they look after her in-laws, who share their house.
They have a Rottweiler/lab and Rottweiler/boxer along with the recent addition, the Chihuahua named Joey.
She said the day a dog-barking complaint was made to bylaws, she was in bed with a migraine headache and she had her dogs with her. Kerr did admit her dogs bother the neighbours — the wife in particular is scared of them. She got bark collars that spritz citronella when the dogs yap, and planned to put up a wooden fence in spring.
But the neighbours, Len and Judy Benoit, said they’ve tolerated the dogs for several years and the third dog was just too much.
Judy Benoit said the dogs are a nuisance and the owners have no control over them. The animals aren’t trained, socialized or exercised, she said.
Typically, when the dogs start barking, the owners yell at them and take them in the house, she said.
Len Benoit said the dogs would still bark when they heard them, even if there was a fence.
Coun. Nelly Dever moved to deny the third dog, saying she had concerns the owners have health problems and can’t walk them often and they allow them to bark.
Coun. Ken Christian said Kamloops “is a two-dog town. We have said this time and time again. We get into trouble trying to adjust our bylaw or amend it.”
Such conflicts pit neighbours against each other, he added.
Coun. Donovan Cavers disagreed, saying if the Chihuahua goes, the other two bigger dogs will still scare the neighbours and they can still bark.
Dever’s motion passed with the support of Christian and councillors Tina Lange and Arjun Singh. Opposed were Cavers, Coun. Pat Wallace and Mayor Peter Milobar.
Kerr left the room in tears.
Later in the meeting, council heard about an application to issue a notice of intent for Tosha Moen, who lives on Elm Avenue and who has two dogs and wants a third.
City community safety and enforcement manager Jon Wilson said it was an unusual request, as the three dog issue tends to come up after someone has all the animals.
Dever again moved to deny, saying to allow it would be hypocritical given council’s earlier decision.
Milobar disagreed, saying it was just a vote to issue a notice of intent, which would give neighbours a chance for input on allowing Moen to have three dogs.
Coun. Arjun Singh said Kamloops isn’t a two-dog town, it’s a three-dogs-with-permission town. Council has granted three dogs to some people in the past, he noted.
Council rejected Moen’s request, with Dever, Christian, Wallace and Lange voting to not allow the notice of intent. Milobar, Cavers and Singh voted in favour. Council did pass a motion to refund her $350 fee for the variance.
Councillors Marg Spina and Nancy Bepple were absent.