Woman pleads for second chance at owning third dog

SYLVIE PAILLARD / Kamloops Daily News
January 14, 2013 01:00 AM

Tosha Moen hopes Kamloops City council will reconsider hearing her plea for a third dog before deciding whether to approve a variance on the city's two dog per household rule.

A North Kamloops woman is pleading for Kamloops City council to hear her out after they refused to entertain the notion of a third dog in her household.

Tosha Moen didn't make it to the Nov. 20 meeting where council members blocked her intent to apply for a variance to the bylaw that limits dog ownership to two per household.

Staff had recommended approval, which would've allowed a presentation and a chance for neighbours to weigh in on the suitability of a third dog for Moen's Elm Avenue property.

"May I please appear before council and mayor to present my case?" asked Moen in her written appeal for reconsideration.

Moen said she respects the difficult balance the City's leadership has to strike. She said she'd be grateful for a chance to talk to them and would comply with their decision.

"Just to be able to appear as a delegate to me is just a privilege, really, because it makes me feel like I'm a valued member of the City in their eyes."

Even though a public comment period never did materialize, seven Elm Avenue neighbours weighed in nonetheless by signing a handwritten petition proclaiming support for Moen's application.

They said the two dogs she currently owns are quiet, problem-free and appear well cared for.

Moen said her life is ideally suited to dog ownership. She's tailored her part-time work schedule and domestic situation so as to create a very active, outdoor lifestyle.

And all of her activities involve her dogs, Ti Loup, a Lab-Shepherd cross, and Charlie, a Border Collie-St. Bernard cross.

The problem is that Charlie has gotten old. At nearly nine years of age, she's showing signs of slowing down and has developed arthritis and liver problems.

Charlie can't keep up with the longer excursions anymore, and Moen is keen to maintain two dogs with her during her lone hikes and camping trips, partly for safety reasons.

A conscientious dog owner, Moen also keeps a kiddie-pool-sized litter box under a lean-to in her backyard where her dogs are trained to relieve themselves in order to keep aromas from wafting towards the neighbours.

Council's refusal to hear Moen's request may have simply been a case of bad timing.

Earlier during the same meeting, members reviewed a similar request from a couple wanting a Chihuahua on top of their two Rottweilers.

But neighbours had already complained to bylaw because of barking, called the Rottweilers "nuisances" and said they weren't properly exercised. They also made one woman fearful.

Council denied the couple's application. Then they reviewed Moen's seemingly very different case.

"There's no history of complaints with the dog owner," stated staff's recommendation for approval.

Nonetheless, Coun. Nelly Dever moved to block Moen's notice of intent so as to avoid appearing hypocritical after the earlier decision.

Mayor Peter Milobar disagreed, saying it was just a vote to give neighbours a chance for input.

But one council member vehemently opposed the mere notion of three dogs in one household and of making exceptions.

"(Kamloops) is a two-dog town," said Coun. Ken Christian. "We have said this time and time again. We get into trouble trying to adjust our bylaw or amend it."

Coun. Arjun Singh countered that Kamloops is actually a three-dogs-with-permission town as evidenced by the variances council had allowed in the past.

In the end, councillors Dever, Christian, Pat Wallace and Tina Lange voted to stop the application in its tracks. Councillors Marg Spina and Nancy Bepple were absent.

Tuesday's meeting will determine if Moen gets a second chance.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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