Thursday, June 3, 2010

Halifax Regional Municipality Kennel Regulation's Misinformation 101

It would seem that the bureaucrats within the Halifax Regional Municipality really do not want dogs to congregate - they don't want dog owners to be able to let their dogs go offleash, they don't want dog owners to be able to take their dogs to in-home doggy day cares - and they also don't want people to have and operate responsible hobby breeding kennels in their own homes - which is the best - and really, only way - to operate a responsible breeding operation - in your own home where the puppies can be socialized in a home setting with a mother and father present, and maybe a couple other adult dogs - and humans and all the normal sounds of the type of environment that he's going to be in for the rest of his life.

But the HRM says - NO - there is no way this can be LEGAL. Having this type of operation would be a nuisance. And for the next very many paragraphs - I am going to break it down for you - and show you why you need to do something about it - especially since they have legalized a business as a kennel in Hammond's Plains that should NOT be a kennel - and have legalized a pet care facility in Lawrencetown that if I'm correct - should have been a kennel.

So maybe we'll start with the most controversial one - the bylaw over in Lawrencetown - the process that has been ongoing since July 8, 2008 with the Marine Drive, Valley & Canal Community Council.

Nothing is every easy or straightforward when David Hendsbee is involved - and this is within his purview - so this story is going to be long and drawn out - but this is what the minutes from the first Council reports begin the story saying -

"The initial request for amendments regarding kennels came from Marine Drive, Valley and Canal Community Council who asked staff to undertake a public consultation process to consider where kennels may be located within the Lawrencetown and Planning Districts 14 and 17 (Shubenacadie Lakes) plan areas. Due to public input on the requested amendments and the differences between the 2 plan areas, the application has been split into two separate cases. Therefore, this report shall only focus on amendments in the Lawrencetown plan area.

When the original planning MPS (Municipal Planning Strategy) and LUB (Land Use Bylaw) was adopted for Lawrencetown in 1990, there was relatively little market for boarding facilities for dogs. The traditional definition of kennel was used to broadly encompass both boarding and commercial breeding. Strong community concerns existed relative to dog breeding, and as such no new kennels were expressly prohibited. However, two existing kennels were recognized in the LUB as permitted uses.

You can find the names of those 2 kennels in the Lawrencetown Land Use bylaw - they are "Terra Nova Kennels" and "Airedale Investments Ltd." - page 70.

In a report in April, 2008 they outlined where kennels were allowed in all 3 areas of the planning districts and at that time recommended that nothing be changed in the Porters Lake/Chezettcook land use bylaw - because kennels were allowed in almost all the planning area of that MPS - so to change anything there would be to take away services from that area - I wonder if that happened - if they did stick to that. It says in subsequent reports that the case was broken up into 2 parts, so maybe it did.

I find the Lawrencetown case fascinating - because it didn't seem to be initiated like the other ways that doggy day cares got legalized - it seems that the MPS was investigated just because - for no reason, almost - I can't figure it out. And I've been watching this story for almost 2 years.

What is has done is get breeders very confused - because in the meantime - the HRM has instituted bylaw A300 - which removed the licencing of kennels.

When we had bylaw D100 - you could licence your kennel and pay a $100 kennel fee - and then have as many dogs on your property as you wanted - and call yourself a kennel.

Now even if you have a kennel - you have to register each dog individually to be legal - so I could have Dogkisser Kennels - be the most respected breeder of terri-poos in Canada - and I have to pay $50 for every unaltered dog in my house - OUCH! And if I have a kennel - my dogs are not going to be spayed or neutered, are they? That hurts!

And right now - for some reason, there is a ton of misinformation going around on the local purebreed Yahoo groups because they are telling each other that if they have 2 or more more dogs - they are going to have to consider themselves a "kennel" - and they will now be considered an "illegal kennel" - because kennels are "illegal" in the HRM.

Well I am here to tell you that - that is BULLSHIT.

For one thing - the bylaw states that kennels consist of dogs that are MORE THAN two. Where did people read TWO OR MORE? It's MORE THAN TWO. Do you see a difference there? There is a difference of one - and that makes THREE. You are considered a kennel when you have THREE.

And the only land use bylaws in the HRM that do not have definitions for kennels in them currently is Dartmouth, Downtown Dartmouth, Halifax Mainland, and Halifax Peninsula - now granted - that is where the bulk of people in HRM live, BUT a lot of people live outside of those places too.

"Pet Care facilities" were approved by the Marine Valley Drive Council on May 19th - we're still waiting for the minutes from that meeting to be published - so I can't say exactly what came out of that meeting because I wasn't there - but it seems ridiculous to me that pet care facilities are now legal in Lawrencetown, but kennels still aren't, if that is indeed the case. That in certain areas of Lawrencetown you can now board up to 12 dogs - but you can't have 4 breeding dogs, or have 5 show dogs in your home. But you CAN have 8 regular dogs.

And there will certainly be people who will keep 50 dogs in their basement - you'll never know about those people, regardless. That type of suffering goes on unchecked everywhere and only leaks out occasionally when something goes really wrong and the abuser - because they certainly aren't a breeder - really screws up.

So I'm going to just really quickly talk about the other two cases in the HRM where doggy day cares HAVE been legalized - and it's been done differently than in Lawrencetown.

In Hammond's Plains - it's like they went to the moon or another planet they did it so differently. Who did this case - I have no idea - but the planner on this case was the same one for the Marine Drive/Lawrencetown one - so it totally confuses me - but Pampered Paws Inn - which is a doggy day care - and she takes in like a KAJILLION dogs every day - and she's allowed to - she has NO LIMIT on how many dogs she takes in every day - has been classified as a KENNEL.

She was not classified as a "pet care facility".

So figure that one out, people. How she got that designation - because she's in a mixed use zone, because she's next to other businesses, because of her Councillor - WHO KNOWS, but her business was classified as a kennel. Congratulations to her for getting that designation.

I think - because of that - EVERY OTHER PET CARE FACILITY SHOULD ALSO BE DESIGNATED AS A KENNEL. But that's just me.

And then on the Halifax Peninsula - Janet Chernin's Canine Casbah - was designated as a "pet care facility" - like the facilities in Lawrencetown/Marine Drive will be designated - she has a limit of 12 dogs per day that she can take in. And she is happy with that. She can only have one employee. She has to keep her business on one floor of her home. And any other person who wants to have a business like her's on the Halifax Peninsula has to go through a prohibitive development agreement process that would put hair on the chest of an orchid. It's completely gross what you have to go through - there's like 20 steps.

And on the peninsula - kennels are illegal altogether - so you can't have 3 breeding or showing dogs - only 2. There is no definition for kennels.

There is no equality throughout the Municipality - and there never will be because the HRM believes that every area of the HRM has it's own flavours and it's own needs. That's why every area has it's own municipal planning strategy and it's own land use bylaw and it's own Community Council - so if you don't like the land use bylaw where you live - then your only option is to move to another area that has a land use bylaw that you like and you can live with. Really, that is the only answer.

So do your research - and start looking for new real estate. And start voting with your dollars - and speak out.

All of the HRM's land use bylaws are on their website at

If you've read down this far - you probably love your dogs enough to move - unless of course you're a rebel enough that you don't mind being a scofflaw and operating an illegal kennel! Which has it's own merits too. You could rise above the frey - and make an example of yourself so that the laws could be changed so that you change them and make yourself legal where you are now. Half a dozen of one, six of the other.

You have a couple facts now, anyway!


  1. well as you know and with support from you and many others I did become LEGAL BUT at what cost? - hmmm 14 grand and still NO PROPER procedures or protocols in place to allow needed and wanted in home daycare or as you say responsible hobby breeders (there are so many other threads to this) just like everything there should be checks and balances BUT HRM is NOT BALANCED ... how many years do we have to demand for effective changes ??? GRRR off to bang my head against the nearest wall or a bull terrier HA HA
    Thanks yet again Joan for your constant vigiliance and research - archivist for dog lovers

  2. I think it's just waaay to early in the morning for me to even comprehend this.. I just read and my eyes started to glaze over... all their confusing classifications....... no wonder people resort to backyard breeding, puppymills and unsafe dog daycares.