dogs

Town looking for more info on dogs, boarding kennels

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The issue of dogs and boarding kennels came up recently regarding a property owner on Concession 6 North and a councillor wants to help bring that and any future issues to a close.

Councillor Jason Lavigne has asked administration to compile a report on dogs and kennels so that the town can “have something so everyone can move forward.” He asked administration to find out what surrounding municipalities are doing with regards to kennels and dog-related issues so that Amherstburg can create something and put it on the books.

Lavigne noted the only bylaw he is aware of is one regarding setbacks.

“We have nothing on record,” he said. “It’s very difficult to make decisions when you don’t have a bylaw.”

By bringing forth bylaws and regulations from other nearby municipalities, Lavigne indicated it will help “find a spot for Amherstburg to sit.” He added that it is difficult for administration to foresee such issues, but now that it has arisen, the town can now get something in place should something similar arise in the future.

The recent issue on Concession 6 North “got a little heated” and that Amherstburg has no “in-depth policy or bylaw” regarding animals in the rural areas “whether it’s kennels or the amount of dogs you own or anything in that aspect.”

Councillor Rick Fryer said there is a difference between a kennel and a boarding kennel and that is something that has to be cleared up as part of a report.

“There’s a big clarification that needs to be brought to council,” he said.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the report will feature “anything and everything” with regards to dogs and kennels. He stated that it is time to find out what other municipalities are doing with regards to the issue “and how we compare.”

New pet wash facility now officially opened

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Pet owners now have another alternative if they are looking to keep their pets clean.

The new Amherstburg Pet Wash was officially opened recently with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo on hand to cut the ribbon. The new pet wash is an enclosed booth that is located along the east side of the Amherstburg Car Wash on Simcoe St.

Owner Luigi DiPierdomenico stated that the pet wash is climate controlled and features various types of shampoos, conditioners, flea and tick removers and other options that pet owners can use while bathing their animals.

There is also a vacuum that people can use to remove excess pet hair, a dryer for the animal and the opportunity to purchase pet treats. The cost is $10 for ten minutes with extra minutes available to be purchased if needed.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo (right) cuts the ribbon to officially open the new Amherstburg Pet Wash. Owner Luigi DiPierdomenico is at left. The Amherstburg Pet Wash is located next to the Amherstburg Car Wash, at the corner of Simcoe St. and Sandwich St. S.

“It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said DiPierdomenico. “You can come day or night.”
DiPierdomenico said the pet wash is cleaned daily and there is an option to put a pet on a platform or on the floor with both options being angled to allow water to drain out.

“It’s all natural products and environmentally-friendly,” he said.

There are few pet washes in Ontario, with DiPierdomenico stating the only other one he is aware of being in Lindsay. He had to drive to Ypsilanti, Michigan to view one before purchasing one for Amherstburg.

“I was looking online one night to see if I could find additional services for the car wash site,” he said. “It’s something I thought the community needs.”

“This is actually a very unique business,” said DiCarlo. “It’s very cool to have it in the town of Amherstburg. Considering the amount of pets we have in town, I think it will be well used.”

There is a Facebook page for the new venture, simply by searching “Amherstburg Pet Wash.”

Council votes down zoning bylaw amendment

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Town council has unanimously refused to grant a zoning bylaw amendment for a Concession 6 North property that has raised the ire of its neighbours.

The property is home to numerous dogs and both neighbours and council members have been concerned about activities at the site for at least the last month, as the matter was also talked about at a July planning meeting. Concerns raised included the breeds of dogs, the proximity of activity to neighbours, whether activities such as dog boarding and the sale of goods was occurring, and the timing of permit applications as opposed to when building activity actually occurred.

The issue was addressed at Monday night’s town council meeting where neighbours Tom and Suzana Siimes again voiced concerns with the property and said a building that had been proposed for the land “is not a minor variance.” The Siimes family said they located where they did, 2,000 feet from the road,  for peace and quiet. That followed up on a July presentation to council where they said it was “not your regular kennel.”

Suzana told town council is was “not fair” that neighbouring landowners have had to abide by the law and endure noise and other issues from the home in question.

“If you amend (the bylaw) to favour him, this will become horribly big and out-of-control,” she said Monday night. “Tonight we ask you to deny the application.”

Suzana added they have to put up with “insane noise” on a regular basis.

Ken Blanchette, another neighbour, also called for council to deny the application and wanted peace and quiet in the neighbourhood. In July, he also voiced concerns regarding a secondary driveway near his home and the lights that shine in when people use that driveway at night.

Councillor Leo Meloche said he visited the area and there are a “number of issues.” While he “totally understands where (the neighbours) are coming from,” he asked to hear from the applicant as well. Planner Jackie Lassaline, who works with the applicant Aladdin Khalifa, was not permitted to speak Monday night but at July’s meeting, she stated “in my professional opinion, the proposed dog kennel is consistent with the PPS (Provincial Policy Statement) in a rural area.”

The kennel would have mitigating measures such as security fencing, trees, berms and screening, she also told council last month, and that the proposed new building to was to have sound proofing.

“Other local municipalities such as the Town of Essex allow 60 metres from a kennel to an existing residence,” she said at the July planning meeting.

Dogs are his hobby, Khalifa explained at the July meeting, adding that he constructed eight-foot fencing and installed sheets of zinc around the perimeter of his property so that they couldn’t dig under them. Khalifa added that he stopped boarding dogs after meeting with the town’s bylaw officer. He said the only dogs on the property are his dogs and “you can’t hear my dogs.”

At Monday’s meeting, Councillor Jason Lavigne said he was not in favour of amending the zoning bylaw. He said there was an ad online where the kennel was looking for people to work there and added that issues such as the amount of dogs on the land could be addressed through future motions from council.

Councillor Diane Pouget outlined a series of concerns, and was the one who made the motion to deny the zoning bylaw application.

“I feel very, very strongly we can’t allow this request to proceed,” she said.

CAO John Miceli cautioned that without an amendment, it might limit the town’s powers on what it can do to enforce regulations at the site including enforcing how many dogs are permitted on a property.

“Without an amendment, the town will have difficulty having any control over the property,” he said.

Meloche said he was concerned over how to “get a handle” on the matter, and called for a report believing that more problems could be created without it but director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin said a report was prepared but that administration sought further direction and clarification.

Manager of licensing and enforcement Nicole Rubli said “there’s an open investigation” into what breeds of dogs are on the property.

At the July meeting, Khalifa’s lawyer Nick Souilliere described the dogs as “absolutely sweet” and that all were licensed with Khalifa telling council at the time the dogs were mastiffs that played with children at local festivals.

Chief building official Angelo Avolio added that five permit applications have now been put in, but no permits have yet been issued.

Woofa-Roo sees incredible numbers, despite brief storm during set-up Friday

 

By Jolene Perron

 

When a quick storm passed through some parts of Essex County Friday evening, a number of tents at the pet festival were overturned.

However, after putting in countless hours of work overnight, they recovered and the weather for the remainder of the weekend was in their favor.

From the dock diving organized by Ontario Dock Dogs, to the display of the many skills by Border City Barkers, the festival was a huge hit with pets and their humans.

One of the more popular events at Woofa-Roo’s festival was dock diving, where dog owners threw toys into a large pool of water to encourage them to jump as far as they could.  Some dogs reached lengths of 24 metres.

One of the more popular events at Woofa-Roo’s festival was dock diving, where dog owners threw toys into a large pool of water to encourage them to jump as far as they could.
Some dogs reached lengths of 24 metres.

“We’ve been coming here for three years and Cody really enjoys the event,” said Joe Ulakovich, owner of seven-year-old Yorkshire-bichon Cody. “We did some shopping, and it’s a great day out for the family. It’s a nice event, it’s very family-oriented and it’s comfortable being here with the family. We can give him treat samples and see what he likes.”

Owners such as Jon Ashe, owner of a two-year-old miniature Labradoodle, said the event is great for people who want to socialize their dog with other animals. Although it was his first year at the event, he said he plans on coming back next year and wants to teach his dog how to do dock jumping. He said all of the dogs they encountered over the weekend were great, and he loves bring able to bring his dog to an event, since he is a part of their family.

Woofa-Roo-13

“This has been phenomenal, we have had record-breaking crowds,” said Woofa-Roo director/founder Lorene Clayton. “Everyone is happy, we have a lot of dogs and the response has been very good. This is a dynamic weekend with a charitable twist as our festival benefits nine different charities and rescues. We enhance their profile with the public, help their fund raising efforts, increase their volunteer base, foster homes and secure homes for animals needing to be re-homed.”

 

Fun fetched by thousands at Woofa-Roo Pet Festival

By Shelbey Hernandez

 

The “Olympic-style pet event,” as the founder so calls it, has celebrated its another year as a success.

Despite the rain on Saturday, thousands of pet owners and their furry friends were seen diving off docks, jumping over obstacles and enjoying the many pet-engaging activities offered at the one-of-a-kind pet event. The event was held at the Libro Credit Union in Amherstburg on Saturday and Sunday with around 12,000 in attendance.

A very well-trained Radar had a blast during the dock diving competition which was part of the fourth annual Woofa-Roo Pet Festival held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg last weekend. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

A very well-trained Radar had a blast during the dock diving competition which was part of the fourth annual Woofa-Roo Pet Festival held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg last weekend. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

The festival was created by Lorene Clayton who saw a void and wanted to fill it. With no pet festivals to be found in Windsor-Essex, she decided to create one herself. As a dog owner herself, she felt it necessary to have a place where people could celebrate being pet owners. She modeled her event after the Dog Bowl, a large pet festival in Frankenmuth, Mich.

Her first go at it attracted 7,000 people. Last year, that number jumped to more than 11,500 people. The event also supports local pet charities and rescues by donating large sums of money and being the place where adoption and rescue centres can gain greater exposure.

What Clayton notices about the event she started is how it brings people together.

“They have a common bond. The minute they come into this gate, they have a common bond with a perfect stranger and the dogs that are here and the people who are here, there are social barriers that are just gone because everyone knows that the person walking next to them shares that love for that animal,” said Clayton. “So it’s a way to celebrate pet ownership and people are eager to do this.”

During the fourth annual WoofaRoo Pet Fest, a German short-haired pointer is photographed competing in the flyball competition at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg last Sunday.

During the fourth annual WoofaRoo Pet Fest, a German short-haired pointer is photographed competing in the flyball competition at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg last Sunday. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

The event comes with many different vendor booths, K9 demonstrations, pet activities and Olympic-style games for pets and their owners to compete in.

One of them is dock diving, which pet owner Deloni Leslie had her dog Ari competing in. Leslie said she has come to the pet festival since the first year it started but didn’t start competing in dock diving until last year. Since then, she’s been hooked and has given the organizer nothing but praise.

Chasing bags around a large expanse was one pet activity that many pets really enjoyed. It was known as the lure coursing event which took place during the WoofaRoo Pet Fest held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

Chasing bags around a large expanse was one pet activity that many pets really enjoyed. It was known as the lure coursing event which took place during the WoofaRoo Pet Fest held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

“I’m a big supporter of Woofa-Roo. I think it’s been amazing since day one,” said Leslie. “There’s nothing really like it in our community and yet, there are so many people with dogs and obviously a ton of people here. Since year one, I think the organizer has done an amazing job. She keeps adding something to it every year and it’s just a really great, fun thing to do. Even if your dog doesn’t want to do any of these things, there’s a lot of things to do and see and shop.”