SURREY, B.C. —
A Surrey condo owner is facing a difficult dilemma: get rid of her dog or leave the building.
Rabiya Merani said she was surprised to learn Scout, her nine-month-old Golden Retriever mix, was violating a strata bylaw.
“I got a letter that said that she was too tall, and that she would have to be removed,” Merani said. “It was really heartbreaking.”
The letter, which Merani provided to CTV News Vancouver, reads: “Your dog is already taller than the bylaw permits (14” at the shoulder) and as such the strata council voted that you must remove the dog from the premises.”
Merani tried to fight the bylaw and requested a rule change, but that request was denied.
“Unfortunately, they’re pretty insistent that she’s too tall to live here,” she said.
Some neighbours are surprised that this is happening to Merani.
“You can have a small dog that’s quite disruptive and a large dog that’s quiet and doesn’t cause any issue, so I think it’s discriminatory against people where they can live and where they can’t, based on the size of their dog,” said Donna Mitchell, who’s lived in the building for more than a decade.
Mitchell notes some residents have more than one pet, which is also against a strata rule, and some have dogs that look just as tall as Scout, but said she isn’t aware of those people being asked to get rid of their animals.
CTV News has spoken to another pet owner who’s violating a bylaw by having two animals, but he said he’s never been asked to surrender the second pet.
“Both the other owners that are in violation of the bylaws happen to be Caucasian. I’m really the only, kind of, visible minority that’s been asked to get rid of my pet,” said Merani.
CTV News contacted the president of the strata council and the strata manager. Both refused to answer questions.
Merani has repeatedly tried to get a conclusive answer as to why she has been singled out, but is now focusing on finding a place where both she and Scout will be welcomed.
“It’s really just become a bit of a hostile environment, to the extent that I’ve decided that I don’t really want to live in this building anymore because of the blatant discrimination,” she said.
She said she’s sharing her story in hopes doing so will prevent it from happening to anyone else.
“I want to make sure that even if I am leaving this place, I want to make sure that I leave it in a better place than when I came,” she said.