Thursday, January 17, 2008

Letter in todays paper about Janet's daycare + dog bylaw

I wrote a couple letters today. The first one was in response to a letter to the editor in the Chronicle Herald. It was from a lady who's opened an in-home doggy day care in Seaforth - she's actually bought the old Camp Dog location and has renamed it "Dogs at Home". It turns out that hindsight is 20-20 and she didn't know any of the background to Janet Chernin's story when she read the article in last week's paper about her going through the legislative process to legalize in-home doggy day cares on the peninsula. Here's the letter she had in the paper today:

Different rules?

I read the Jan. 9 article "Dog day care gains first step toward municipal approval" with some dismay and concern.

I have searched for years for the right property to operate a dog day care and in-home boarding facility. I finally found it, but it is 30 minutes away from the HRM core area. I did my research, learned about the zoning, did the application for the development permit, and applied for and received a kennel licence.

The thought of HRM suddenly being agreeable to having this sort of business in residential areas is surprising, and somehow wrong. I did it the right way, went through all the hoops, and now I learn I could have kept my home in a residential area and operated it there?

And since when do we acknowledge that someone is operating illegally and just say, in effect, OK then, let’s let her operate for 12 years and see how we can help her to run legally?

All the personnel I dealt with at HRM were very professional and very firm in explaining the rules and regulations for this kind of business. Is Janet Chernin talking to a different office?

Also, I have learned of other facilities that have been shut down because they were operating in zones that did not permit it.

Lisa Dillinger, owner/operator,Dogs @ Home, Seaforth

So this is the letter I wrote in response:

Lisa Dillinger's letter in January 17th's edition of the Chronicle Herald amounts to nothing more than a serious case of sour grapes when she says she read the article about the HRM moving ahead with the legalization of in home doggy day cares with some "some dismay and concern". Why would she be worried about the legalization of her own industry? What she's saying is absolutely ludicrous! She should be applauding the Municipality and Janet Chernin instead of saying that what they are doing is "surprising and somewhat wrong". Simply because she happened to time the opening of her own business before the legal wrangling has been worked out so that new businesses can't open yet legally on the peninsula doesn't mean that she should be so hateful towards a business owner who is doing nothing more than trailblazing and I should also say - has spent more than $16,000 of her own money in legal bills so far - to legitimize the very business that Ms. Dillinger just opened herself in Seaforth this past July. It is because of Ms. Chernin and the 12 years that she has spent showing people that a business like hers is a good idea and that dogs (and dog owners) need this kind of refuge so that people like Ms. Dillinger can now open the same type of business and bear the fruit of it. And in the not too distant future - if Ms. Dillinger wishes to relocate back to the peninsula - she will have that opportunity - and she can thank Ms. Chernin and the HRM Councillors for it!

I'm not quite sure how anyone could live in quite such a vacuum that they wouldn't know of anyone else operating the same kind of business that they're wanting to open up - but it seems that Ms. Dillinger had never heard of Janet or the troubles that she'd been going through since 2005 - but Janet being the bon vivant that she is - these 2 ladies are now the best of friends - and the Chronicle Herald is now in receipt of another letter to the editor from Ms. Dillinger apologizing to Janet - which is super.

The 2nd letter I wrote today is a letter I've been meaning to write ever since I went to the Regional Council meeting last Tuesday night - and then noticed that there wasn't an article about it the next day in the newspaper - and that's the fact that major amendments to Bylaw A-300 were voted down at the Council Meeting without being discussed or debated - they were just put on the agenda, the motion put before Council, and voted down - and that was it. What is up with that? So tonight I wrote to the City Hall Reporter for the Chronicle Herald, Amy Pugsley Fraser. I'm sure nothing will come out of it, but what the hell. I'm a fast typer and it only took a couple minutes. Here's the letter I wrote to her:

Hi there Amy - my name is Joan Sinden and I'm an active member of the local dog community. I noticed that you do a lot of the local dog stories, and that you're also the City Hall Reporter for Chronicle Herald.

What I'm writing about tonight though is the fact that I figure you must have been watching that particular Council meeting from home - because also on the agenda was something very innocuous - 11.1.7 - -
First Reading Proposed Amendments to By-Law A-300 - which went very quickly at Council when Steve Adams said that Council was advising to refuse the amendments - Younger and Adams had wanted staff to supply recommendations about having free licences - and this was the report for it - but if you notice in this report - there's a couple other things in there that are also talked about -

- dogs and cats would only be required to be registered once - for free
- spayed and neutered cats are allowed outside - but if a person finds a cat on their property that they don't want there, they're allowed to trap them and if the owner is found, they are fined
- a trap, neuter and release program will be supported through a grants program

But without any discussion allowed at all - Hendsbee tried to engage the Mayor for a second - the amendments were voted down.

Personally I am in aggreement - I think that having free licencing is absolutely ridiculous - if that was the case Animal Control would be bringing in no revenue whatsoever because the fines they generate are through statutory fines - and those monies go to the province and not the city! It's my understanding that it's because they are through police services. I think it's highway robbery. Animal Control should support itself through it's fine system. Anything else is rubbish.

But I thought someone in the media should know that a major amendment to Bylaw A-300 was very quietly voted down last week and no one seemed to notice - and Regional Council seemed very happy to keep it that way. And what they did to those Fire Service personnel was horrible too. Everybody in the audience was writhing.


Joan Sinden


  1. Anonymous8:04 PM

    I think the din of your 6 dogs barking has caused mild, and for your sake I am hoping temporary, brain damage. Your argument that the same rules should apply to private dog owners as businesses is like stating that a day care should be affored the same right to privacy as a family is entitled to. The local government has a duty of care for those in the community of the 4 and 2 leg varieties as they would for monitoring the acre provided and placement of Children's daycares within a residential zone.

    Coould you elaborate as this Vendeta that Kyra Foster has taken up. I have clicked through a few of your blog pages trying to work it out and am not able to make head nor tail of it? I gather Kyra beleived Jante was mistreating an animal(s), whether substaniated or not and perhaps as the owner of a business the local people voted as the Best for Pet Care and Supplies, was concerned with Janet operating her business due to care issue not one of competiotin, as you have eluded to.

    I have to say being a former Halifax resident I place my stake with the Coast and it's number of voters over the volume of people who visit your blog site and their Lack of requests for you to include a shop.

    I btw am not a regular reader of your blog site, but rather had it come up when looking for Willow's Pet Place, one of a couple shops recommended to be my a friend who still lives in Halifax, does not own a pet but from various friends of hers that do has been told it is one of the best.

  2. I would love to enlighten you on the full story of Janet and Kyra so that you may understand why Ms. Chernin is in the unenviable position that she is today - operating a very successful business out of her home - like many other people are doing around the HRM, exactly like her - doing exactly the same thing (and I might add people are doing across North America and in Europe as well) - offering the service of in home doggy day care - but in May of 2005 an ex-competitor, a lady by the name of Kyra Foster submitted a query/complaint to bylaw enforcement asking about the legality of Janet's operation - and from there we come to today where we now find out that there is an archaic section of the HRM Peninsula Land Use Bylaw that does not allow the "keeping of animals" as an in home occupation.

    You can find my previous posts about this topic at:

  3. Anonymous11:17 AM

    I have to agree with thoughts of Janet Chernin and her handling of the dogs in her care. I have also seen Janet become violent and physically grab and hit the dogs down at Point Pleasant Park. Thankfully I can always hear this Janet holloring and yelling at the dogs from several trails aways before I have to run into her so most times can avoid passing her, but when I do have to pass my dog is extremely nervous of her as are my friends dogs. I have seen her grab puppies out of people's arms and throw them on the ground, I have seen her twist a dogs ear and once heard her tell a young girl that she had no control over her dog and needed to continually pinch her dogs toes until the dog cowered and submitted to show the dog who's boss. I have also heard a lady explain that Janet said her dog was clearly spoiled and she needed to break the dogs spirit down and then re-build it back to the type of dog it should be. All of this is just gross to me and many others I know and because of that this Janet will NEVER be allowed contact with my dog. I walk regularily at Point Pleasant and have for years and there are so many more horror stories I have seen first hand and heard of. I saw her grab a dog and flip it with it's collar on it's back yelling I don't care if your mom is here you know not to do that. I didn't even see what the dog did, but alpha rolls? Are you kidding me? Another lady told me when she went to drop her duck toller off once for boarding and he peed on a dog bed after another dog peed there Janet turned around and yelled I just washed that! If you do that again I will fucking kill you. That was less then 3 minutes of first arriving at her place. Of course the lady said she never went back. AND another lady said she used to take her dog there, but found out that Janet lost him not once, not twice, not three times but on a regular basis in the park and never once told her. She found out from park patrol. the same lady said she once saw her dog being dragged down Quinpool Rd. by a group of kids that looked only about 7 or 8 years old. From talking to another lady who left her golden retriever puppy there once I guess this is normal for Janet to let the neighbourhood kids come and take your dog out. She said she left her dog and had to pick her up from emergency surgery. Janet left for the morning to go to the dentist and just put the dogs in the basement new puppy and all completely unsupervised. The puppy got attacked, had her baby teeth embedded into her gums and had to have surgery to get them out. I have no idea what reason anyone would think this lady or her place would be a great spot. I encourage anyone who isn't aware of Janet to hang out at the park and just ask around or just hang out for a while and they will see for themselves. She is called the bull dog for a reason. And those big walks she says she'll take your dog on? I have watched her pull into the lower level parking lot and by the time I get my dog out of the car and start walking she has walked half a trail and then turned around and went back to her van and left. That is your dogs walk folks. One university student told me that she hired Janet to walk her dog for one hour. She was sick at home one day and Janet yelled "Charlie hurry up" Her dog didn't seem to want to go but did and Janet had the dog back at the house in less then 15 minutes. Since the girl didn't get out of bed Janet never knew she was there the whole time. I haven't followed city council or any of the story but I for one would vote her to be shut down. That is puerly based on her cruel handling of the dogs and her lack of professionalism. If you're thinking of using her ask around first - to people like park patrol and other regulars at Point Pleasant. You'll hear more of the same.

  4. Dear Anonymous - I have to say that I hold very little stock in comments left by people who do not tell us what their name is - SPECIFICALLY when they leave such inflammatory comments. If you're going to leave such an accusatory and slanderous comment - as far as I'm concerned, you've got to own up to who you are - or none of what you say holds any water at all. You could leave a comment saying that the sky is black as opposed to blue - and unless you leave me some reason to believe why that statement is true - I'm not going to believe it, sorry.

    I have known Janet Chernin for 10 years - and I have NEVER seen her throw a puppy to the ground. NEVER. She has never physically corrected a dog. Yes, she hollers. That is her PERSONALITY. And I don't imagine she or anyone she knows will deny it. And she does hold very strong opinions about dog nutrition and how dogs should be treated and will give her opinion to anyone who will listen - including potential, current, and past customers of hers - and I'm sure everyone will agree that conversations about stuff like that can get heated. You only have to have one of those conversations yourself at a dog park and you'll find yourself getting hot under the collar in very short order.

    But what you are saying in this comment is patently untrue, unfair, and unsubstantiated - I think that if any of it were true - the Canine Casbah would not be the most successful in home doggy day care in the Halifax Regional Municipality - which is IS. Janet Chernin would not be one of the most sought after interview subjects for television shows, newspaper articles and radio interviews - but she IS.

    And if you aren't willing to say who you are - I am taking the Buddhist path and relying on MY OWN experience and what I believe to be true - and that is that Janet Chernin and the Canine Casbah SHOULD be the model from which other in home doggy day cares should be based upon in the HRM.

  5. Anonymous7:24 PM

    OK Miss Joan Sinden, my full name is Adele Judith Crowley. I didn't feel it necessary to name names in my very negative yet acurate description of what I have seen and heard of Janet Chernin.

    But should you want names? Ok then lets start at the beginning, puppy grabbed out of girls arms was a black and white border collie named Kai and his owner was Sarah who was walking with Heather Dunfield and her valley bull dog puppy named Hayden.

    Heather was the one told to continually pinch Haydens toes until she submits.

    Don't know who owned the dog who got it's ear twisted as it was in Janets group and I'm sure the owner wasn't present.

    The lady who was told her dog was spoiled and needed it's spirit broken is Caroline who works for Sony and owns a black lab named Dusty over around Oxford Street, who's dog by the way will not walk past Janets house.

    Black lab puppy, now probably about 3 years old named Molly who's owners are Ben and Mirna is the one that got flipped off her feet onto her back.

    Andrea I think MacDonald but not sure of last name? Husband is a hockey coach and they have a little kid now. It was her Duck Troller named Guiness that peed on the dog bed and Janet threatened to kill. Guiness had a skin problem for a while where his toes were bald.

    LIbby MacKay is the one that owned Douglas the Basset Hound that kept getting lost and was seen on Quinpool with a bunch of kids. Douglas has since passed away.

    Victoria Rosenburg is the lady who brought Apple her golden retriever puppy to be left alone and attacked by the other dogs. She now also has a sheltie named Meika.

    Don't know university students name, but long brown hair and mixed breed female dog named Charlie was one only walked for 15 minutes when booked and charged for 1 hour walk.

    The Australian dog walker who I see in Point Pleasant also told me he once worked for Janet years ago and saw her punch a dog on the head because it wouldn't stop barking. He said when the owners of the dog came she told them the dog was too aggressive to come back. I guess it turned and tried to grab Janet when she startled him with the punch to the head.

    Her short walks I am sure are witnessed by many, but I can say as Adele Crowley that I have witnessed it.

    So there you have it. I have had so many discussions over the years with so many people who feel the same way, who I only hope would come forward to relay to people who this Janet person really is.