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Your neighbours could cost you your dog

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A Kamloops resident struggles to understand why two families were able to keep three dogs when she was refused by council the same request just two weeks earlier.

"I think that they should just stay out of my business and stay out of everyone else's business," said Kamloops resident Shannon Kerr.

Kerr was told she could not keep a third dog, a Chihuaha/Miniature Pinscher named Joey, after applying for a variance, Nov. 20.

Kerr and her husband Corey Cook violated a bylaw that restricts Kamloops residents from having more than two dogs per household.

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.

The couple applied for the variance but received negative feedback from neighbours.

Meanwhile, council approved two variances, Dec. 4.

One, by Rob and Elaine Jephcott who live on Skeena Drive in Juniper, and one by Margo Matheson who lives downtown on Battle Street.

In both of these cases, the recommendation by city staff was to approve the variance, "given little, if any, impact within the neighbourhood is anticipated."

And council agreed by voting in favour of the variances.

Councillor Ken Christian was the only one who voted against the variances, holding true to his prior stance that Kamloops is a "two-dog town."

Dog variance applications have been popular in council chambers 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.

Prior to this change, the bylaw was enforced on a complaint basis.

While the three families shared similar variance applications, the main difference appears to be neighbour complaints against Kerr.

"I think if you pay your taxes and do everything you're supposed to do that nobody should be in your business," Kerr said.

She's is appealing council's decision to remove her chihuahua, Joey, at the Dec. 11 council meeting.

"We're putting up that fence that (council) asked us to do, blocking off that side," she said. "We're doing everything. I just want to keep my dogs."

— Jessica Wallace


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