Woman loses fight over strata’s one pet bylaw, but tribunal makes no orders about her two dogs

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      So what happens now to Samantha MacKenzie’s dogs?

      The woman owns two dogs, which she describes as “members of her family”.

      However, her strata council has ordered MacKenzie to “rehome” one of them.

      In other words, she needs to let go of one of her four-legged companions.

      This is because the Abbotsford townhouse complex has a pet bylaw that allows owners to keep either one dog or a cat.

      MacKenzie believed that she can keep two dogs when she purchased her unit in 2020.

      Also, she has said that she is willing to keep only one dog after the other dies.

      The dispute reached the Civil Resolution Tribunal after the woman filed a claim.

      MacKenzie asked the CRT for an order that the strata grant an exemption to its pet bylaw.

      The fight involved two issues. Did MacKenzie have permission to have a second pet? Did the strata treat her unfairly?

      MacKenzie lost on both grounds.

      In reasons for decision, CRT member Lynn Scrivener stated that the woman did not have an exemption from the strata’s bylaw limiting pets to either one dog or a cat.

      MacKenzie claimed that she was “deceived” by a strata council member into believing that she could keep two animals.

      However, Scrivener wrote that even if the strata council member did say what MacKenzie claimed, the said person does not authority to grant an exemption.

      MacKenzie also asserted that there are other owners in the complex, who have more than one pet.

      In line with this, the woman maintained that she was being treated unfairly by the strata.

      However, Scrivener ruled that the “fact that other owners may have more than one pet in their strata lots does not necessarily mean that the strata is aware of the infractions”.

      That doesn’t mean that the strata is not enforcing the bylaw against those owners.

      “There is no indication that there have been complaints about any other owners’ pets that the strata has failed to pursue” Scrivener noted.

      Also, there is “no evidence that the strata picks and chooses how and when to enforce the bylaws as Ms. MacKenzie suggests”.

      Although Scrivener dismissed MacKenzie’s claim, the tribunal member noted that her decision does “not impact the strata’s ability to amend its bylaws”.

      Scrivener explained that if owners who hold at least 20 percent of the strata’s votes support a change to pet bylaw 34, her decision does “not prevent them from calling a special general meeting and proposing a resolution for consideration”.

      So what happens now to the dogs?

      “As the strata did not file a counterclaim, I make no orders about the dogs,” Scrivener wrote.