St. Paul Park council says three dogs are enough; no ordinance change
The St. Paul Park City Council upheld an ordinance last week regarding the number of animals on a residential property, preventing a longtime resident from continuing to foster abandoned and ill dogs.
Carolyn Kne has opened her home to dozens of abandoned or sick pooches throughout the last decade. Volunteering with Basset Buddies Rescue, she has provided a temporary home for many dogs searching for a permanent home.
"I just love animals," Kne said. "It breaks my heart to see how some people treat these animals. If I could foster a whole houseful I would. I just wanted to continue my volunteering and fostering of these animals that I love so much."
Recently, a neighbor complained that Kne had more dogs than was allowed in the city code, forcing her to appeal to the council to amend the animal ordinance or craft a kennel license.
"I had four dogs in my home when the city code only allowed me to have three," Kne explained. "My husky had cancer and I begged the city to please not make me get rid of him."
Kne said recently her basset hound died, which put her back into compliance with the code.
The council discussed last week the idea of changing the ordinance to increase the number of animals a resident could have. Yet despite saying they understand Kne's circumstances, council members unanimously voted to amend the ordinance.
"While I do empathize with the situation," council member Jennifer Cheesman said, "I believe (the ordinance) should stay the same."
Council member Jeff Swenson said the number of animals wasn't as big of a problem to him as was the possible noise and annoyance factor.
According to the complaint filed with the city, the neighbor was not accusing Kne's dogs of incessant barking but rather the number of dogs she had.
"This is not about the barking. They are not out there barking," she said.
Kne also said the dogs live in a sanitary condition and are treated humanely, even "spoiled."
The council also discussed crafting a kennel license and decided that residents living on three or more acres would be eligible, a requirement that Kne said no resident would meet.
Kne said she is in compliance with the code but will now focus her research on other cities' kennel licenses to see if they require acreage setback.
"It's just a bummer," she said. "But, I will still do what I can to help Basset Buddies. I just can't foster."