Meire Grove Upholds Ordinance, Rejects Family’s Plea to be Grandfathered
MEIRE GROVE -- Emotions ran hot at the Meire Grove City Council meeting Thursday night, where the city voted to uphold its ordinance limiting the number of dogs allowed on a property to two, and rejecting any family to be exempt from the limitation.
The council voted 2-1 in favor of keeping the current ordinance, which was put in effect in October of last year, with Mayor Matt Silbernick citing numerous complaints in recent years of dogs barking and being unrestrained.
"I'm not here, sitting as a mayor and saying it's a bad thing to have a pet," Silbernick says. "I'm just saying we have to control them."
The upholding of the ordinance will cause multiple Meire Grove residents -- including Ashley Theiler's family, who has five dogs -- to get down to two.
Theiler, who moved to Meire Grove in 2014, had argued that they should be exempt of the recent ordinance under a grandfather clause and started an online petition that has collected nearly 40,000 signatures from around the world in support.
But Silbernick says only one of those signatures is from a resident of Meire Grove.
"So what does that really give us as a reference?" Silbernick says. "We have to look at what we have to do for our community."
At the meeting, as many as four Meire Grove residents supported the city's decision to uphold the ordinance, saying the Theiler's dogs have been a "nuisance" since they moved to town.
The Theilers said their dogs have been wearing shock collars since last year and residents seemed to admit it has helped the noise issue, but the council decided it was too little, too late.
"People have come to our town to enjoy the small town [quality of life]," Silbernick says. "And when stuff like this happens, it can ruin a town."
Theiler says she was upset by the council's decision and says she will seek legal counsel and support from animal rights coalitions before taking the matter to court.
"I'm extremely heartbroken," Theiler says. "I think it's ridiculous and I'm not giving up."