Toronto condo building threatens legal action if tenant doesn't muzzle dog
According to tenant Kat Wakefield, The Fly Condominiums is forcing her to muzzle her dog without justification and is threatening her and her landlord if she fails to comply.
In a letter to the tenant in early July from the condo property manager and condo board, the condo requested that "the dog that is being kept in the unit will need a muzzle every time it is in the common areas of the building".
Wakefield has two dogs, a Chihuahua named Vida and a French Mastiff named Maui, but believes it's only Maui who is being forced to be muzzled.
"As of today, myself and my landlord are being threatened with legal action in two weeks time if I do not muzzle him in common areas. However, as of yet, they have still not provided any valid reason or proof of this ruling," Wakefield told blogTO, citing City of Toronto's muzzle order bylaw.
The City of Toronto only requires dogs to be muzzled if the dog has bitten a person or domestic animal twice or it's a restricted pit bull type dog. However, individual condominium corporations have the right to create rules and say whether the dog should wear a muzzle in a building.
In an email, Fly Condos told blogTO that the reason for the request is that they've gotten a number of complaints from residents.
"Our security reports that residents and their children perceived the dog in question as an attack dog and a clear and present threat and danger. They feel unsafe around the dog in the elevator and incur psychological discomfort, damage and moral losses once they are around the dog," they stated.
"On reception of these complaints and security reports, the Board/management asked the security and cleaning staff about the dog in question, they also reported that they felt the dog could get aggressive at any time."
Fly Condos also cited the Condominium Act and a specific declaration that their condo has regarding pets, to justify their actions.
"As per the Condominium Act, 1998 and subsequent update, the board of directors and management of TSCC 2346 known as The Fly Condominiums has a duty to provide for safety and security and ensure a safe and enjoyable living environment for all the residents/owners of the Fly Condominium community."
But Wakefield is demanding proof of Maui's aggressive behaviour before she muzzles him.
"Maui is a palliative foster dog from the Toronto Humane Society," she explained, detailing the number of physical ailments the dog has including bi-lateral hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis and torn knees.
"He couldn't attack anyone even if he wanted to and there are days he can hardly walk."
“Maui is the gentlest soul in the building. Our whole family and especially our little dog Chloe absolutely adores him. He greets us with a wagging tail and kisses every time we see each other. We’ve never met a kinder dog," added other residents of the building Jeff and Jiae.
Further, a letter from the Toronto Human Society that was sent to Fly Condos on July 18 stated that Maui "has been deemed not to be aggressive or dangerous, nor has he ever been trained as an attack animal."
The letter goes on to say: "Maui has no bite record and has never been given a warning or muzzle order by the municipality and therefore does not need to wear a muzzle for any reason."
Wakefield, who has been a resident of the condo since November 2019, says she feels like the actions are targeted.
"[This situation] is making me incredibly anxious and stressed. No other dogs in the building are required to wear a muzzle [and] I genuinely wonder if it's [because of] my appearance," she said, explaining that she's heavily tattooed.
She also told blogTO that she tried to speak with the property manager on several occassions to resolve the issue but said they refused to speak to her.
"I don't want to muzzle [Maui] because to him it means he's done something wrong and I refuse to do that to a dying dog - especially not when they've given no valid reason," Wakefield said.
"My favourite part of the day is taking my dogs out. We only go out twice a day. That's the best part of my day and they're ruining that for no reason."
"Based on the complaints and security reports on the one hand and our correspondence/dealings with Ms. Kat Wakefield, Board/management had to balance the rights of the dog owner and the dog and the safety and security of the residents and the public and their right to live in a safe and enjoyable environment," said Fly Condos in a statement.
Hannah Sotropa, a spokesperson from the Toronto Humane Society, advises pet owners who are looking to move to a condo or people who live in a condo that are looking to adopt to check the condo rules first.
"General advice is to check in with the property manager and check what rules they have for animals," she said.
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