Woolwich councillors are hoping little dogs mean little in the way of problems after giving the go-ahead to a Breslau-area kennel over the objections of adjacent property owners.
In a split vote Tuesday night, they approved an eight-dog kennel licence for Samantha DeJong, allowing her to do puppy training for up to five dogs in addition to the three dogs of her own at 1956 Shantz Station Rd.
Addressing councillors, DeJong said she’s interested only in offering the training program, but a township bylaw requires a kennel licence for anyone keeping more than three dogs at any one time.
Noting her neighbours’ concerns, particularly about noise, she said her experience with such training programs shows very little in the way of noise, adding the goal is to make the puppies behave, including refraining from “nuisance barking.”
“For the most part, we really don’t make a lot of noise.”
Those assurances didn’t convince nearby residents, however.
Mark Mollision, owner of the adjacent property and Greenway Blooming Centre, told councillors he objects to the kennel licence due to noise concerns and the possible impact on his small collection of animals that includes eight sheep, a llama and a donkey.
The sheep are used to produce lambs that he brings to market, with Mollison concerned that the dogs will bother the lambs and reduce their value. There’s also the possibility the lambs could be injured or killed. Likewise, the puppies could be at risk if they stray onto his property given the aggressiveness of the llama, which acts as a protector, he said, pointing out that a new livestock fence wouldn’t prevent puppies from squeezing through. Nor does the fence provide any visual screening or noise abatement.
In response, Coun. Mark Bauman pointed out it would be the DeJongs’ responsibility to keep the dogs on their property, with the liability being theirs.
The potential for noise topped the list of concerns of resident Carolyn Luckhardt, who said the barking dogs of a former neighbour was a longstanding source of annoyance.
Seeing the issues raised by neighbours, Coun. Patrick Merlihan asked deputy clerk Julie Forth how much consideration was given to the residents’ concerns before staff recommended approval of the kennel licence.
Forth said staff determined the operation involving a few puppies wouldn’t be problematic.
“We didn’t think it was going to be too much of an issue,” she noted.
Merlihan’s reservations were shared by Coun. Larry Shantz.
“I do have issues with a kennel going here, just because of the proximity to the houses there,” he said, noting all of the neighbours are opposed.
As with complaints at other kennels, it’s not possible for bylaw enforcement staff to get over immediately to investigate, meaning that noise issues may have settled down by the time they get there, he said.
Merlihan and Shantz were the lone dissenters, however, allowing the motion to pass.
“People are always concerned about change. I don’t see this as being a huge change,” argued Bauman.