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updated: 11/19/2013 6:28 PM

Wood Dale woman gets time to try to keep dogs

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  • Lisa Spakowski of Wood Dale was given time Tuesday to ask the city council if she can keep all five dogs she cares for in her home rescue operation. City ordinance says three dogs is the limit in residential areas.

       Lisa Spakowski of Wood Dale was given time Tuesday to ask the city council if she can keep all five dogs she cares for in her home rescue operation. City ordinance says three dogs is the limit in residential areas.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

A Wood Dale woman cited by the city for having too many dogs in her home pet rescue operation is hoping to negotiate a deal that would allow her to keep her remaining animals.

Lisa Spakowski, founder and president of Illinois Birddog Rescue, was ticketed in August for having at least 10 dogs in her house. It's illegal in Wood Dale to have more than three dogs in a residence, officials said.

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Since the complaint was filed, Spakowski reduced the number of dogs to five. The 48-year-old says she's been unable to find suitable homes for the any of the canines that remain because they all have tick-borne illnesses and other ailments.

On Tuesday, a DuPage County judge was supposed decide whether Spakowski violated city law. But the trial was delayed until January after Spakowski decided she wanted to make a plea to the Wood Dale City Council.

"She's indicated she's already reduced the number of dogs from 10 to five," said Patrick Bond, Wood Dale's city attorney. "We need to verify that and see if we can work out some accommodation to allow her to take care of these dogs."

Normally in Wood Dale, a kennel, shelter or animal hospital can only be operated in an area zoned for commercial or business uses. Those kinds of uses aren't allowed in residential areas.

However, the city council could decide to grant an exception for Spakowski, who welcomed the chance to address the council, which is expected to happen next month.

"I don't have to take my dogs to the vet to be euthanized," Spakowski said Tuesday. "I'm very hopeful that they (city officials) want to work this all out."

Bond said city council members simply want the matter resolved.

"They're willing to sit down and discuss this and try to meet on some common ground," Bond said.

As part of an administrative solution, the city council could decide to drop the ticket against Spakowski for the August violation.

Spakowski said unforeseen circumstances in August forced her to have more dogs than usual. She insists it won't happen again.

Now she just wants to keep the five dogs that remain -- Buckwheat, 11, Gavin, 3, Lani, 11, Dantes, 12, and 10-year-old Boonie.

Spakowski acknowledged that several animal shelters have offered to take care of two of her dogs. But she said it would be "unethical and irresponsible" to give any of the dogs to a shelter because of their chronic health problems.

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