Patrick Albert 0

Save Miko - blind, diabetic chihuahua

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Recently my grandmother passed away and left behind her chihuahua, Miko. Miko (pictured) is blind and diabetic, and at the time her diabetes was largely uncontrolled. We drove all the way from Chesterfield, VA to Houston, Texas to pick her up and take her home with us.

Thanks to some help from our wonderful vet Dr. Riley and some good old TLC, Miko's diabetes is now controlled and she lives happily together with our other three dogs (including Bandit, another special needs dog who is partially paralyzed on one side due to a stroke.) She is blind and dependent upon insulin and hospice care, making her unadoptable. (Not that we'd ever want to give her up either way!) If we were forced to give her up her health would likely decline rapidly.

However, the problem is that Chesterfield County zoning ordinance does not allow for us to own four dogs. Sadly it does not take the size of the dogs into account. All of our dogs are small breeds (<20lbs)--an owner of the average shepherd has more "dog" than we do, but quantity is all that is taken into account. They are small, mostly-senior dogs that just want to lay on their seven foot dog bed and snooze between occasional leash walks and romps in the yard. Half our house is dog beds and that is how we like it, they are well-kept and very comfortable.

The current recommendation (which you can see in the Chesterfield County analysis linked below) states that our property is "inadequate for four to six dogs." We have a three story townhouse with a fenced-in yard, and even the county inspector was forced to admit that our property is well-maintained. Under the regulations the way they are, we could own three large mountain dogs, 6+ cats, or an infinite number of puppies, yet somehow our space is "inadequate" for our four small dogs. This petition is to be presented to the Chesterfield County Board of Zoning Appeals to apply for a private kennel license that will allow us to keep Miko. (Case #18AN0100)

We also foster for rescue organizations like Richmond Animal League and Second Chance Dog Rescue were previously under the impression (along with most of the other fosters) that foster dogs did not count against our total, since the ordinance specifically refers to ownership. We've included this issue in our appeal in the hopes that it will be more clearly defined and that we will be able to continue helping our community. We would like the license to include permission to foster, bringing our total potentially up to 6 at the most at any given time.

We have a zone meeting with the Board of Zoning Appeals to apply for a kennel license and it was recommended to us that we start a petition. We have a traditional pencil-and-paper petition going around our neighborhood, but we wanted to supplement that with an online petition in order to present as much support as we can at our hearing.

We have had no other dog-related complaints--no noise violations, etc. Just one neighbor who decided to complain about us having one too many dogs, which I personally believe was less about the dogs and more about a personal vendetta. And even *she* told the code enforcement officer that there was no barking or other nuisances.

Here's a link to the zoning case for your reference, including a link to their staff report:

Please help us save Miko and continue to save other dogs in our community.

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