Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Question: How Many Dogs Are Too Many?

City of Brookfield, Common sense, Legislation


(Sorry about yesterday's mispost. Don't know how that happened--I wasn't home at the time it was posted!) 

It is easy to see why Brookfield's JR Pups 'N Stuff would be In the doghouse with the neighbors. I would not want a neighbor with 6 to 17 dogs either--especially on such a small lot. The article also stated:

Neighbors, however, said they were tired of Rhoten’s dogs’ barking, defecating and leaving her half-acre yard despite an electric fence. Brookfield does not allow physical fences, except where residences abut commercial areas.

Neighbors also said Rhoten’s yard in the 4600 block of N. 135th St. has been cluttered with kennels, trailers and a large white tent. About 40 neighbors signed a petition against the rescue business.

Is this problem simply too many dogs? Granted, the high volume of canines does not help the situation, but from the above description of the yard being strewn with kennels, trailers, and big tent, and the dogs escaping and defecating in the neighborhood, it sounds like the problem went beyond just the number of dogs.

There are a lot of dog owners who are not model neighbors. Some let their dogs bark incessantly. Some do not pick up after their dogs when on walks. Some let their dogs run out of their yards. In these cases, even one dog is one dog too many!

When I walk our pooch* pictured here, I frequently encounter 2 of these one is one too many canines. Often I think, I'm glad I don't live next to that! 

One should have been named Diablo. He barks and snarls with fur raised on his back everytime anyone passes by. Heaven help us if his invisible fence battery ever dies.

The other dog on our walking route has no invisible fence. His owner thinks he has trained it to stay in the yard, but it comes charging out at us, snarling, with fur again raised on his back (a sign of aggression.)

Since the problem with the dog rescue household in question has been solved with a court order, do we really need to make another law for everyone?

There may be times the average household would have more dogs than the 2-3 limit that is so common in other communities. A family member once bred their boxer and had 4 puppies. It was a very positive experience for the family. (All the puppies were sold.) 

Sometimes a household must keep a dog or dogs for a short time for someone else who is in the process of moving or building a home. Often if you are looking for someone to temporarily keep your pet, you ask someone who already has a dog. 

Maybe one solution would be to require Dog Rescue households to apply for a special permit or license? They could be required to abide by more stringent rules, with number of dogs proportioned to size of yard? Rescue organizations do perform a valuable service, I would hate to stop them all. (We once adopted a dog from one rescue house in Aurora, Illinois. That home seemed to have its act together.)

The Aldermen will have to sort all this out with the wisdom of Solomon. They know how many resident complaint calls they get about multiple dog menaces. But often the problem isn't simply the number of dogs, it is the owners!

What do you think?


If you are trying to train your dog to behave better, you might wish to watch The Dog Whisperer. It is a show on cable and available through the Waukesha Library system on DVD. Cesar Millan, the Whisperer, really knows his dogs and gently illustrates the problem is not the dog!

*I am not really a dog person, although I love our little 13 pounder!

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