Council denies home-based doggy day care

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Austin City Council decided not to allow a doggy day care at a residential property in northwest Austin during its work session Monday night.

The council received a proposal from pet owner Michael Haskins, who wanted to board dogs at his Fourth Street Northwest home and train them to be less aggressive. Yet city ordinance forbids homeowners from keeping more than three animals and council members believed changing the ordinance would create too many issues involving pets.

“We can’t make an ordinance specific to you,” Council member Jeff Austin said.

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Haskins protested the council’s limit on pets and said his business would focus on teaching dogs to behave near one another.

“I walk down the street and see one lone dog barking his head off at one house, yet I walk to another house and there’s five dogs laying in the yard and they’re all quiet,” Haskins said. “It’s the dog’s behavior [at issue].”

That wasn’t a good enough argument for the council. Council member Judy Enright said giving Haskins an exception would be unfair, considering the city shut down resident Mary Draayer’s cat adoption operation Cats Off Broadway, which Draayer ran from her home.

City officials told Haskins his business seemed like a good idea but is better suited for a commercial space within city limits, which Haskins said he couldn’t afford.