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Having a say

Residents in the municipality of Neebing voiced their concerns over the proposed amendment to expand the definition of a dog kennel. More than 60 people crowded into to the Neebing council chamber Wednesday for the special meeting.
Shanlee Linton speaks at the Neebing municipality meeting on April 18, 2012. (Jeff Labine,

Residents in the municipality of Neebing voiced their concerns over the proposed amendment to expand the definition of a dog kennel.

More than 60 people crowded into to the Neebing council chamber Wednesday for the special meeting. The entire former classroom only had standing room only with people concerned about the proposed amendment.

The amendment would expand the definition of what a kennel would be. The proposed zoning bylaw would define a dog kennel as an establishment used for breeding, raising, boarding or working of more than two dogs over the age of six.

The majority of residents who attended the meeting were against the amendment.

Shanlee Linton was one of the first to speak at the meeting. Linton spoke publically about another bylaw passed by Neebing council that had stricter rules for noisy dogs.

She said these bylaws threatened her heritage and her ability to enjoy her dogs.

Linton accused her neighbours of lying about how they manage their dogs. She said they live in that community and they know exactly when they make a noise. She said they have had no complaints about the noise.

With the proposed amendment, they wouldn’t be able to have any more dogs but then there’s the problem with rezoning, she said.

“In the bylaw zoning in order to have a kennel you have to be rezoned as agricultural,” Linton said. “We live on the waterfront so therefore we would not be able to get a kennel license. The application fee is thousand dollars and yes, it is a lot of money but there’s no way our neighbours would give us permission to do that. They aren’t going to zone where we live agriculturally so we would have to get rid of the dogs.”

In total, Linton owns six sled dogs as well as a golden retriever and a pug. She said they move out to the community to spent time with their dogs and play with them.

The majority of residents appeared to agree with Linton’s opinions at the meeting. Most of the letters submitted to council were in opposition of the amendment.

Linton added that she was proud to have her community come to the meeting and show their support.

But not everyone at the meeting was against the amendment.

Don Skochinski, who purchased a camp in the community about a year ago, said he was in support of the bylaw but specifically the limitation of the number of dogs a person can have. He said he lives near neighbours who have a number of dogs and they can be noisy.

“I know a number of residents in Neebing are concerned that council is targeting pets; no they are not,” Skochinski said. “They are looking at a situation where we have eight dogs on a tiny less than one acre piece of land and people can’t sleep, can’t enjoy their property and it isn’t the proper location for that.”

Skochinski said the amendment would apply to nuisance dogs.

There have been problems with dogs in the past with people not that sensitive to how their dogs are impacting their neighbours, he said.

Councillors quickly assured the crowd that the amendment wouldn’t hurt pet owners but would only affect those who manage dogs for commercial reasons.

Coun. Roger Shott said in a perfect world there wouldn’t be any restrictions but as a council they have to make sure people’s rights were protected. He said they will have to go back and look over the definition some more before they reach a decision.

Neebing Mayor Ziggy Polkowski said they didn’t want to put pet owners through any more hoops.

“It was never ever councils’ intention to hurt pet owners,” Polkowski said. “We have to find somehow the definition of how many dogs can be pets and how many dogs will really hurt your neighbours. There’s a lot of work we still have to do.”

Council will have another meeting on the issue on May 2.




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