Pinellas County dog sanctuary could be forced to move

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Jayne Sidwell and her sister Sybil take care of dogs who may not otherwise have a home.

"Lily May is blind, so it's difficult to adopt a blind dog," said Sidwell.

The two sisters operate Canine Estates in a residential neighborhood in Palm Harbor.

"We do a lot for the community," explained Sidwell. "We partner with Pinellas County Animal Services. We partner with Suncoast Hospice. We take in medically needy dogs, dogs that would otherwise be euthanized. That's our mission, to take care of the dogs."

They house about 25 dogs inside a home. Some of them will go to other homes, but others will spend the rest of their lives in what Sidwell calls a sanctuary. But some neighbors don't see it that way.

"We said, as neighbors, this does not belong here," said Andi Brown, Sidwell's next door neighbor. "This kind of activity does not belong here. It's very, very disruptive to all of us."

Brown took her case to the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners last November. She said she's spent over $30,000 in noise blocking windows and doors to drown out the barking. Now, Canine Estates and its dogs could lose its home if Sidwell's filed exception to operate in the neighborhood is not accepted by the county.

"They don't deserve it, they've come a long way," said Sidwell. "We've worked real hard. We've spent our own personal money on this. I sure hope they don't let this leave the community."

"Everyone recognizes the good being done with the dog rescue and rescuing any animals," said Brown. "It shouldn't be at the expense or the health of anyone else."

Sidwell says she fears these dogs won't have anywhere to go should the county force them to move.

"There's no place for them to go, and they would have to be euthanized, and I think that's a shame," said Sidwell.

Wednesday, the county will hold a public hearing to decide whether or not Canine Estates can continue operating in the neighborhood.