Dog-gonnit, the town must act

Look, it’s not that I don’t have sympathy for Walbridge Road resident Faith Kilburn, who wants to keep her 22 little Shih Tzus until they’ve gone to the great dog park in the sky. “They are my children,” she said, according to today’s account in The Hartford Courant.

But much as those of us who have dogs hate to admit it, dogs are not childen. They are, in the end, dogs.

So the town’s planning and zoning commission was, if anything, too kind in giving Ms. Kilburn two full years to reduce the number of dogs down to three in order to comply with land use laws. She did nothing, of course, and now the deadline’s at hand.

I’m not itching to see the little pooches hanging outside a Korean market or something. But they need to live somewhere other than a residential home on a quiet street in a quiet town.

If Ms. Kilburn really wanted to keep all the dogs, she could have moved to any number of places where the authorities don’t much care what you do on private property, whether it’s having a 101 Dalmations or firing shotguns at the UFOs that fly over. West Hartford is not one of those kind of places. We’re the kind of place that doesn’t let you shine a light skyward because it contributes to light pollution (another good rule, by the way).

Ms. Kilburn can have all the dogs she likes. She just can’t have them in heavily regulated West Hartford, where the only thing we love more than Starbucks is a new ordinance or two to keep everybody in line. It’s my kind of town.

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6 Comments

Filed under News, Public safety, Town government

6 responses to “Dog-gonnit, the town must act

  1. linda

    As some of us with dogs love to admit – I’d rather live next to a house full of dogs than a house full of screaming kids any day. Some of may not be in cluded in the “we” that loves to be overcontrolled and overregulated. Ms. Kilburn from all appearances seems to live in an immaculate well kept house on a nice quiet street – quiet being the key as her dogs are IN the house dogs and are also quiet. So, bottom line is, since 23 of her neighbors don’t care, who are we to care and why should she have to get rid of her dogs? I’d rather live next to her than the pompous jerk who thinks it brings his property values down — sadly, there’s one of him in every neighborhood.

  2. ConcernedReader

    Hey Linda; if this woman was keeping 5 pit-bulls instead of “…22 little Shih Tzus…,” would you rather live next to her than my 2 kids? If not, what criteria do you propose the city apply to regulate this matter going forward? How about this: if you’ve a rich white eccentric woman living in a nice house in Elizabeth Park, you can have as many dogs as you want. But if you’re from a lower economic class living in the southeast side of town, forget about it.

    Or answer me this, if you lived next door to 22 dogs and a realtor told you that your house was clearly worth $NN,NNN dollars LESS because of this woman’s wanton disregard for our zoning laws–and you were selling your house to help fund your retirement (or in my case, pay for my kids’ college education)–how would you feel about that? Or do you think we should all be entitled to selfishly denigrate each others property values with impunity?

    Bottom-line: This woman should do the right thing and move her herd of dogs to a nice little farmhouse in the country. If not, I hope the city will finally stand up to her and make her pay for her blatant disrespect for a fair and well established law.

  3. ConcernedReader is exactly right. Rules are for everyone and have to be applied evenly and fairly.
    22 dogs in a West Hartford house is crazy and the town better get them out of there. Anyone have an update on what’s actually happened? The reporters in this town never seem to follow anything up.

  4. aswitzer

    I live halfway across the country. I am a full time volunteer with the Humane Association. I see EVERYTHING when it comes to dog abuse and neglect. My heart is broken over and over. When someone is willing to take exceptional care of 22 of the 20,000,000 homeless dogs who wander the streets of America looking for a warm place to lay their head and a crumb of food or a thawed out mud puddle to drink from I have to stick up for that person who is willing to take the time and money to care for these animals. If we allow the government to tell us what we can and cannot have in the privacy of our own homes, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, we might as well go and live in a Communist country. Dogs may not be the issue in your life, but an issue will come up one day that will affect you or your children and their children. Faith, I commend you for every moment you spend making these aging animals more comfortable and loved.

  5. I don’t think she took in 22 dogs. I think she took in a few and didn’t have the decency to make sure they didn’t turn into 22 dogs. That’s not what a good dog owner does — and I’m sure that anyone who is connected to the Humane Society knows what I mean.
    I have a single dog. She’s not having any puppies ever, much to the chagrin of my children.
    But, then, I’m a responsible dog owner.

  6. ConcernedReader

    whdad is right. This woman isn’t someone who was humanely rescuing stray dogs. If she was, I might have more sympathy for this women’s plight.

    But let’s get the facts straight. This was an illegal breeding operation that bombed. If it was anything other than that, how could she have possibly ended up with 22 dogs of the same breed?

    By the way aswitser, if your next door neighbor decided to start a pig farm in his back-yard that was clearly a violation of your local zoning laws, do you think it would be unfair for the authorities to put a stop to such nonsense? If not, then don’t you find it hard to label a community that has agreed to reasonable zoning laws that all must abide by to be anything like a “Communist country?”

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