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Dog owner forced to give up dog to appeal council's decision

Shannon Kerr stands on her Rosewood Avenue property in front of her neighbour's window with 16-month-old Chihuahua/Miniature Pinscher, Joey.
Image Credit: InfoTel Multimedia

Joey is one tough little dog.

The 16-month old Chihuahua/Miniature Pinscher can stand up to two full-sized Rottweilers. He plays with them and even chases them around.

But owners Shannon Kerr and Corey Cook are worried the dog who has lived with them for one year won't be able to tough out a new home after a decision by council, Nov. 20, forcing them to give up the pup. It's why they're appealing council's decision.

"I just want to keep my dogs," Kerr said.

The couple violated a bylaw that restricts Kamloops residents from having more than two dogs per household.

The couple and their 17-year-old son Mathew have lived on Rosewood Avenue for 12 years. The Brock residence is also home to 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.

For Kerr and Cook, who are on permanent disability, their dogs are part of their everyday life.

"We're home all the time, it's not like they're alone," Kerr said.

The couple said they received two notices from bylaw enforcement in the summer - one for noise and one for having three dogs.

They paid $350 to plead their case to council in hopes of a variance.

Len and Judy Benoit, who live next door, said the animals are not trained and don't get exercise causing them to be too noisy.

Kerr said Kate's bad knee prevents her from exercising and that she lets the other two dogs play in their nearly half-acre backyard together.

"Joey and (Ozzy) race around the yard," she said. "They do exercise."

She said she understands that the Benoit's bedroom window faces their property, close to an area the dogs enjoy playing in.

It's the reason the couple purchased a special dog collar for Ozzy that sprays Citronella in his face when he barks. While Kerr said the eldest dog Kate is not the problem, she agreed that Joey is a hyper pup.

She said he is still young and will calm down with age.

"He's a baby," she said.

Kerr noted that Ozzy and Kate were hyper until they were about two or three years old and added that Joey's father, who lives with Kerr's brother, calmed down when he was about three years old.

"He just needs to grow up and settle down," Kerr said.

The motion by Coun. Nelly Dever to deny the third dog was supported by councillor Ken Christian, Tina Lange and Arjun Singh.

Councillors Cavers and Pat Wallace as well as Mayor Peter Milobar opposed.

The decision to deny Kerr and Cook their dog came the same day Tasha Moen, a local dog owner, applied for a variance to consult with neighbours about obtaining a third dog.

She was also denied a third four-legged friend.

"This is a two-dog town, we have said this time and time again," Christian said. "We make our lives more difficult by constantly bending that rule. We need to land on a position that says how many dogs are allowed."

Kerr said if the appeal is denied they will find a family to care for Joey.

— Jessica Wallace

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