NDG community rallies behind doggy daycare facing eviction

·3 min read
Samantha Jean Thayer, 24, with Cashew, 1. Samantha owns Centre Canin Dogscouts, which has been given 30 days to close up shop and relocate due to a zoning issue.   (Jennifer Yoon/CBC - image credit)
Samantha Jean Thayer, 24, with Cashew, 1. Samantha owns Centre Canin Dogscouts, which has been given 30 days to close up shop and relocate due to a zoning issue. (Jennifer Yoon/CBC - image credit)

The owner and clients of a daycare for dogs in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood have a bone to pick with the borough.

The borough has given Centre Canin DogScouts, which serves between 60 and 70 clients, 30 days to close up shop on Sherbrooke Street West and relocate.

While the daycare's owner, Samantha Jean Thayer, has a provincial permit to operate, she doesn't have a municipal one.

She told CBC she was under the impression that a former business partner had already gotten one, but learned too late that wasn't the case.

The other issue facing Thayer's business is that her shop is located in an area which the borough says is not zoned properly for an animal daycare. They say she has to close or risk facing fines.

Thayer, 24, says she was blindsided by an eviction notice she received last week.

She said while she tried to obtain a permit from the borough, they won't issue her one because of the zoning.

During an initial inspection by Quebec's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) Thayer says her shop was cleared to offer daycare services back in April.

"[An inspector] explained to me very carefully the zoning and said that as long as we operated during regular working hours and as long as we left before nighttime, then it was OK," said Thayer. She emphasizes the business is a daycare, not a kennel.

But following a new inspection by the city on Aug. 20, Thayer was told that her daycare is operating in a building that isn't zoned for this kind of business.

Jennifer Yoon/CBC
Jennifer Yoon/CBC

In response, an online petition directed to the City of Montreal has been signed by over 500 people in the NDG community to advocate for the business' merit in the neighbourhood.

"This daycare is the heart of the dog community," said client Jacinthe Murphy. "I just feel like this is a service that should be more known than it is currently is and unfortunately, at this point in time, it's really sad to imagine that it would no longer be around."

Murphy, who leaves her dog Abbie at the doggy daycare, says the business provides a necessary service in the neighbourhood, especially with people going back to the office.

"All of those puppies are going to have a lonely time at home," said Murphy, adding that she doesn't know of any other daycare service in the area within walking distance.

In a statement to CBC News, the borough of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce says businesses involved in the keeping or training of domestic animals are only authorized in heavy commercial zones. Therefore, the daycare cannot be authorized in this zone.

But Thayer isn't giving up. She is in talks with borough mayor Sue Montgomery who says she is working hard to get to the bottom of the issue and find a solution.

The young owner is hoping the city will give her an exemption, so she can keep looking after Abbie and her other clients' pets.

"Now that everyone's going back to work, [my clients] are not sure what they're going to do," Thayer said.

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