‘Buyer beware’: Large dog owner frustrated by condo’s sudden enforcement of pet bylaws
By Andrea Ross
03 July 2015

Dane Kaiser, partner Ray Sillito and dog Leonidas, whose large size has resulted in Kaiser having to choose between keeping his dog or his condo.

Dane Kaiser knew Leonidas, his Cane Corso puppy, was going to be big. What he didn’t know was that its size would be a problem in his condominium complex.

Other condo owners at Rutherford Village had big dogs. The president of the condo board had a Boxer. And over the last three years, Kaiser never received any complaints about Leonidas, who grew to 120 lbs.

But then a notice came to his door two months ago, saying he had 90 days to either move out of his south Edmonton condo or get rid of the dog, whose size violates the condo’s bylaws.

The bylaws state pets in the building can’t be more than 14 kilograms, or about 30 lbs.

“I was pretty frustrated,” Kaiser said. “We’ve owned the condo for four years, and I would never get rid of my dog. And we can’t really sell the house in three months since the oilfield downturn.”

Kaiser said he’s frustrated by a lack of communication from his property manager and by rules that, he said, haven’t been enforced until recently, after the condo board president’s Boxer died. He has launched a Change.org petition to have the bylaws changed to allow large dogs; it has almost 500 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.

But Rutherford Village condo board President Andrea Freier said the notice went to every unit on the property, and isn’t an eviction notice. She estimates there are “quite a few” residents violating the current pet policy.

“It does ask residents … to correct the situation,” she said. “It’s a reminder to residents to ensure they are reading the bylaws, and asking them to take ownership on themselves to ensure they’re following them so these things don’t have to happen.”

Rutherford Village property developer Curtis Penner originally set the 14-kilogram weight limit for dogs at the condominium complex 10 years ago, and said the bylaws haven’t changed since.

“The way at which we arrived at 30 pounds is I weighed my overweight Cocker Spaniel,” he said. “The Cocker Spaniel was about as big as you want.

“The thing with a 100 plus pound dog is the size of the deposit they leave on the property is a lot larger too.”

For a change to be made to the bylaws, 75 per cent of residents must be in favour, according to Alberta’s Condominium Property Act.

But condominium bylaws are provincially based, and not easy to change, Canadian Condominium Institute Northern Chapter spokesman Alan Whyte said.

“The issues we have in condos are the three Ps: people, pets and parking,” Whyte said. “Before you buy, you’ve got to read your bylaws. Every condo has different rules and those rules are in there for a reason.”

Sometimes condo bylaws concerning pets can be changed and large animals can be grandfathered in, he said. But any change in bylaws must be consistent with all residents.

“The rules are the rules, and it’s ‘buyer beware’ when you buy a condo,” Whyte said. “You have to know that bylaw is there for a reason.

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