A Langley woman is considering her next move after facing $200 a week fines for having a dog that’s above the minimum size requirements in her strata complex.
Jacquelyne Clark and her husband and their black Lab, Brandy, moved into Chartwell Green in Walnut Grove a little over two years ago, she said.
They knew there was a size limit on dogs in the 55-plus strata community, which was set at 16 inches.
They measured Brandy at the shoulder and she was just under the height.
“We thought we were doing it right,” said Clark.
However, they were later told that the size referred to the back of the dog’s neck, and Brandy was several inches above that height.
Within a few days of moving in, a resident had complained about Brandy barking at her – Clark said she barked just once, while leashed in the Clark’s own back yard – but that alerted the strata council.
For much of the last two years, when they’re in residence with Brandy, the Clarks have been paying $200 a month in fines, she said.
They don’t want to give up their beloved dog.
“She’s 13 years old,” said Clark. “We’ve had her since she was two and a half.”
They also don’t want to move out of their home at Chartwell Green, where Clark said her neighbours have been supportive.
The couple usually spends part of the year travelling in their RV, but this year after four months away, they returned in April to news that the strata would be increasing the fines to $200 a week, which they can’t afford.
“We would like them to review the bylaw and let her [Brandy] stay,” said Clark.
“We just want to live there quietly,” she added.
After almost two years of fines, the Clarks are in touch with a lawyer, and may ask for a special meeting with the strata council, although COVID-19 and ongoing pandemic restrictions have made holding meetings difficult.
When legal disputes around strata rules and fines do go to court in B.C., they are often dealt with at civil resolution tribunals.
A recent radio interview about the issue led to mixed feedback, with many people contacting Clark to say they sympathized, while others said she should have followed the rules about her dog.
The Langley Advance Times has reached out to the strata council through the Chartwell Green property managers for comment.
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