Concerned its kennel bylaw was going to the dogs, Wellesley council is likely to make some changes after a pair of applications revealed some holes in the existing legislation.
Specifically, the township is grappling with the issue of proximity and limiting the number of kennels on any one property.
Meeting Tuesday night, councillors discussed two applications for kennel applications, a process that raised questions about how the businesses are regulated and whether to introduce a limit on the number of kennels in the township.
In the first application, a Linwood resident requested permission to put a second kennel on a single lot that is already home to two residences and a kennel operation. The existing bylaw doesn’t speak to such circumstances.
Coun. Shelley Wagner took issue with the proximity of the two kennels,
“It isn’t divided into separate lots, but both have their own individual addresses and the one owner already has a kennel, so now there are going to be two kennels on one property,” she said, adding that current policy allows one kennel per nine acres. “I assume the farm is more than 18 acres. My concern would be what happens when someone with 150 acres comes along and says, ‘I am going to put up four different kennels on my property.’ Where is our regulation on that?”
Chief administrative officer Rik Louwagie confirmed the current bylaw was “silent” on limiting the number of kennels per property.
“It just says a kennel can have no more than 35 dogs. It does not say how many kennels you can have per property,” he said, recommending councillors amend the bylaw.
The second application came from a Wellesley resident looking to start a kennel operation on his nephew’s property next door to his own. Councillors opted to approve the application, siding with a staff recommendation to waive a requirement that a kennel owner live on the property where the operation is located.
Here, too, Wagner took issue with the application.
“If you are going to run a kennel, you really should be there to supervise the operation and know what’s going on. That is not to say they aren’t going to be there every day, but I think we have that in our bylaw for a reason,” she said. “I think it is pretty plain and simple: It is contrary to the bylaw.”
Supervision and regulation of kennel operations in the township was called into question, as well.
Coun. Peter van der Maas requested that staff look at clarifying and maybe adding to the current policies.
“There is very little governance and oversight for kennels in general. I think if we are going to be granting licenses, we might have a little bit more of an obligation to ensure there are standards being met,” he said. “There seems to be little on a provincial level, but there are other townships that have more comprehensive governance and regulation.”