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California Family May Have to Give Up One of Their Three Newfoundlands

Surely there must be some way for this neighborhood and this family to work together. And by the way, the young couple that just moved...

Joy  |  Jan 25th 2008


stidhams.jpg

Surely there must be some way for this neighborhood and this family to work together. And by the way, the young couple that just moved in sure do sound self-focused. They moved into the neighborhood and now they want it changed to suit them.

Barking can be dealt with through training or perhaps bringing them inside more. Clean up the yard more if that’s what it takes.

Thanks to The Daily Breeze for this article.

They can sit, but can dogs of HB father and daughter stay?
Newfoundland owners are hoping for an exception to the city’s 2-pet rule.
By Andrea Woodhouse, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 01/21/2008

Sitting on a step in his Hermosa Beach backyard, Donald Stidham let out a joyful laugh as three large dogs crowded around him.

Bearlike in size, but teddy bears in disposition, the trio of Newfoundlands stretched, craned and maneuvered to feel Donald’s hand run over their soft onyx-colored fur.

But as far as Hermosa Beach is concerned, 40-year resident Donald and his daughter Candace have one dog too many.

Tonight, the Stidhams will appeal to the City Council for a permit that would let them skirt a city law limiting the number of dogs to two per home.

“It would break my heart to part with any of them,” Candace said. “They are my family.”

Candace is disabled, the result of experimental treatments to battle childhood leukemia.

Now saddled with frequent doctor appointments, the 39-year-old is unable to work, but spends her time training the dogs in obedience and water rescue techniques.

With webbed feet and water-resistant fur, Newfoundlands are natural water dogs – capable of towing boats to shore and picking out human bodies on lake beds, said Candace, wearing a sweat shirt with a tiny black Newfoundland embroidered on it.

Giving away one of her dogs would be unfathomable, she said.

“Someone telling me that I had to get rid of one of them would be like telling one of you that you had to get rid of one of your kids because you had too many,” Candace wrote in a letter to the council.

But many of the Stidhams’ neighbors on the dense 1200 block of 11th Street don’t see the comparison.

Residents nearby have complained that the dogs bark too much and stink up the neighborhood with their urine and feces – gripes that apparently prompted the city to administratively deny the Stidhams’ permit for an extra dog.

Angelique Thompson and her fiance moved into their home just east of the Stidhams about six months ago.

Thompson initially loved her home’s hardwood floors and pool, but as the stifling summer heat set in weeks later, she noticed the distinct odor of dog urine wafting from the yard next door.

“It’s our first house, and the fact that we were able to afford in Hermosa is so exciting, and now we have to deal with these dogs,” she said. “It’s upsetting, to say the least.”

And Thompson apparently isn’t the only neighbor irritated by the Stidhams’ pets.

As part of the permitting process, staffers in Hermosa’s Community Services Department canvased the neighborhood with opinion surveys about the Stidhams’ dogs.

The majority of the surveys came back with negative feedback – most focused on the dogs’ apparent odor and noise.

“I don’t mind how many dogs they have, but they need to scoop the poop way more often,” one resident wrote. “I can’t even enjoy sitting in my backyard with the smell.”

Wrote another neighbor, who also said the dogs bark “incessantly”: “Please do not allow these owners to have another dog. They can’t control the ones they already own.”

The dog in question is Mystique, a 9-month-old Newfoundland puppy.

The largest of the bunch, she is one of a litter of Newfoundlands born last spring to 4-year-old Ariel, another of the Stidhams’ dogs distinguishable only by a small patch of white fur running down her chest.

And rounding out the pack is Crystal, an aging dog nearing her 10-year life expectancy.

The Stidhams hope the council tonight will reverse the staffers’ decision, granting a temporary permit for Mystique until Crystal goes to doggy heaven.

Hermosa Beach isn’t the only South Bay city to limit the number of pets residents can have, but it’s among the strictest: Redondo Beach and Torrance cap pets at three per home; Manhattan Beach limits animals to five; and El Segundo, 10.

For now, the Stidhams’ three dogs crowd into a narrow path running along the western side of their property, and leap with excitement at the sight of visitors.

Each weighing about 100 pounds, the dogs run in a group, their inky black fur blending together and making it difficult to tell where one animal ends and the other begins.

The Stidhams have recently stepped up efforts to curb any odor coming from their yard – power washing the concrete floor of the dog run, sealing the fence line, and laying down wood chips, Donald said.

He hoped the cleanup would sway the City Council tonight.

But the Stidhams aren’t sure yet what they’ll do if the council doesn’t budge.

Follow this link to read the rest of the article.