December 13, 2012 - 9:20 AM
A Kamloops family will be together for the holidays after a decision by council to allow Shannon Kerr and Corey Cook to keep their third dog, Joey.
"I don't have to get rid of my guy and that makes me happy," Kerr said.
The family violated a Kamloops bylaw that limits households to two dogs. The couple applied for a variance that would allow them to keep three dogs, including their one-year-old Chihuahua/Miniature Pinscher named Joey. They were denied when several neighbours came forward complaining about noise and negligence.
Coun. Nelly Dever said she visited Rosewood Avenue, where the neighbour dispute occurred to hear the barking for herself. She sided with Kerr's neighbour. While appealing council's decision Kerr asked why Dever had not visited both homes.
"if she talks to one neighbour, she should definitely talk to the other," she said.
Dever response was she didn't intend to be biased, but rather she was invited in while walking along the street. She made a motion asking council to send a notice of intent to neighbours after Kerr's appeal and was supported by councillors Pat Wallace and Arjun Singh. She was defeated.
"I feel that they've made enough changes," said Coun. Tina Lange, noting that neighbours may still call bylaw services if additional issues arise.
Mayor Peter Milobar said it would be a waste of time inviting neighbours back to council, adding that the information would be the same. Councillors Ken Christian and Dever voted against allowing the family to keep Joey while the mayor and councillors Donovan Cavers, Nancy Bepple, Wallace, Spina, Singh and Lange supported the decision.
Kerr and Cook are both at home full-time on permanent disability. Their Rosewood Avenue residence is also home to their son Mathew, Cook's parents, and the family's two other dogs - Ozzy, a four-year-old Rottweiler/Boxer, and Kate, an 11-year-old Rottweiler/Labrador.
"My son was so happy because he was so worried about having to get rid of Joe," Kerr said.
Councillors have made decisions on countless dog variance applications since a decision in 2011 to proactively enforce the bylaw through license renewals. Dog owners wishing to keep three dogs must apply to council for the variance and pay a fee to state their case. Prior to this change, the bylaw was enforced on a complaint basis.
Kerr said council should continue to consider these variances on a case-by-case basis because there are many homes suited to caring for a third, four-legged friend. She says she has one of the biggest yards in all of Kamloops and because the couple are unable to work outside the home, they have plenty of time to offer.
She said the family hadn't planned for Joey's future had the appeal been denied.
"I was really hoping that I wasn't going to have to get rid of him."
— Jessica Wallace
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012