Prince Rupert council must be open to exceptions

Many, including Katherine and Ray Spong, consider their dogs to be part of the family.

Many, including Katherine and Ray Spong, consider their dogs to be part of the family. The City of Prince Rupert splitting up a family is cruel.

The Spongs have been suffering because of a city bylaw prohibiting them from having a fourth dog.

When the Spongs took in their fourth dog, Lily, after finding her abandoned in a remote area, they did their research and have properly cared for the unique breed of dog since.

If Lily, or any of the Spongs’ dogs, had been causing problems for other Rupertites, I would completely agree that the city should’ve stepped in and taken action. But the Spongs say the city’s bylaw office was alerted of their violation because of a complaint, which they say was made maliciously.

It’s unfair that a family like the Spongs has to give up one of their babies when others violating the bylaw face no penalty. Especially considering Katherine said the couple would be more than willing to pay the price for breaking the rule.

Prince Rupert’s three-dog maximum bylaw should be enforced on a case-by-case basis.

Whatever reason the city has for the limit (city staff authorized to speak with media haven’t returned my request for an interview), wouldn’t pertain to the Spongs and their dogs. While some may not have what it takes to manage four dogs, the Spongs definitely do.

Having spoken to Katherine, I can vouch that the Spongs know exactly what it takes to care for their four dogs. While interviewing Katherine, she discussed in great detail the characteristics of Lily’s breed and how those characteristics pertain to taking care of her.

By the time this is printed, council may have decided to make an exception in the Spongs’ case. If not, the city should be ashamed of its actions.

Most people could not manage four dogs at once. A couple that have been doing so successfully, and happily, are an exception.