Pets are often a polarizing issue: are owners permitted pets, if so, what kind of pets are they allowed. Even if owners are permitted to have pets in their strata lot, the strata can force the removal of the pet under certain circumstances.
In the first two cases, the owners were ordered to remove their large dogs from their strata lots because the dogs were larger than the bylaws permitted. In the case of Cowden v The Owners Strata Plan KAS 1104, 2018 BCCRT 126, the owner moved into the strata lot in March of 2017 with her two boxers. The owner and the strata got into a dispute over how to properly measure a dog’s height and whether the boxers were over the height limit.
However, the bylaw stated that no dog were permitted “of a breed known to normally exceed 16 inches in adult height”. The CRT agreed that the standard boxer breed exceeded 16 inches in adult height and agreed that the owner was in breach of the bylaws. The owner was ordered to pay $200 in fines, remove the boxer dog from the property and pay $125 in CRT fees to the strata.
In the case of N.K. v The Owners, Strata Plan LMS YYYY, 2018 BCCRT 108, the strata allowed dogs or cats up to 25 lbs in weight. A tenant was living in the strata lot and had a German Sheppard dog with him. The tenant claimed that he had depression and had a doctor’s note saying that the dog was helpful to the tenant.
However, the CRT found that there was no link to the tenant’s depression and the need for a large dog and no evidence that a dog that complied with the bylaws would help his depression. As a result, the tenant was ordered to remove the dog and pay the strata $125 in fees.
Lastly, in the case of Esfahani v The Owners, Strata Plan BCS 2797, 2018 BCCRT 176, the issue was, again, whether an owner’s dog was too large. The strata had the following bylaw:
“one small dog or cat is permitted: small being defined as an animal that can comfortably be picked up and carried.”
The owner had a golden retriever puppy and the strata ordered the owner to remove it because the dog would grow larger. In response, the owner showed that he could clearly pick up the dog without difficulty.
The CRT noted that the bylaw raised too many questions: Who must be able to pick up and carry the animal? It does not specify that this must be a resident of the strata lot. How long must the person be able to carry the animal for it to qualify? How does one determine what is comfortable? At what point in time should the measurement be made?
As a result, the CRT found that the bylaw was unenforceable because it was too vague and the strata had to pass a new bylaw. The owner was allowed to keep his dog and continue to keep it even if a new bylaw was passed.