Shelley Cuthbert will have to get rid of all but two of her dogs, a judge ruled Oct. 11. (Mike Thomas/ Yukon News)

Tagish dog rescue owner to be limited to keeping two dogs

A judge has ordered an injuction on the number of dogs Shelley Cuthbert can keep on her property

The owner of a Tagish dog rescue will have to get rid of all but two of her dogs after a judge sided with her neighbours in a lawsuit over the “unbearable” noise coming from Shelley Cuthbert’s property.

In a decision made public Oct. 16 but dated Oct. 11, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower wrote that Cuthbert’s neighbours in Tagish Estates, six of whom were plaintiffs in the lawsuit, “more likely than not … suffered a substantial interference with their enjoyment of their respective properties as a result of Ms. Cuthbert’s dogs barking.”

As a result, Gower ordered a permanent prohibitive injunction to take effect in four months that will limit Cuthbert to keeping two pet dogs on her property that must be inside her residence between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., a significant decrease from the 50 to 60 animals she reportedly has on her property now.

The injunction order brings a tentative end to what started as a neighbourhood dispute in 2012 and culminated with Cuthbert’s neighbours bringing her to court last month.

During the four-day trial in mid-September, the court heard that Cuthbert moved into her lot in 2012, bringing a dog rescue operation with her. The rescue transformed the quiet, rural residential neighbourhood into one filled with the loud, incessant noise of dogs barking, seven of Cuthbert’s neighbours’ testified, which severely impacted their abilities to enjoy their own properties.

Cuthbert, who represented herself in court, argued that her dogs do not constantly bark, that the rescue provided an essential service and that she was being singled out by her neighbours, who she accused of aggravating and provoking her dogs.

In his decision, Gower wrote that he found the testimony of Cuthbert’s neighbours — Gerry McGraw, Anne Middler, Stefan Angerer, Ursula Angerer, Stefan Landfried, Leopold Selinger and Edeltraud Selinger — largely credible, and that Cuthbert’s cross-examinations of them did not significantly impact that credibility. All of them were plaintiffs on the lawsuit except for Middler.

“(All of the witnesses) testified to their sleep being disturbed by the barking dogs and a general loss of enjoyment of outside activities such as barbecuing, gardening and entertaining,” Gower wrote.

“It is sufficient for the plaintiffs to have established that that particular sources of annoyance is more than trivial.”

Gower dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaints about the smell of dog feces and the noise of Cuthbert’s generator also being disruptive, writing that there was not sufficient evidence to establish either claim.

On Cuthbert’s defences, Gower wrote that she “(missed) the point” in arguing that her dogs aren’t always barking and that she can’t control what happens when she’s not on her property. He also took issue with her claim that her dog rescue was essential to the safety of Carcross/Tagish First Nation, for which she’s a contracted dog catcher.

“Ms. Cuthbert cannot justify the infliction of significant harm upon the plaintiffs simply by urging that there is a greater benefit to the public at large from her conduct … (because) the plaintiffs receive no benefit from her business but shoulder virtually all of the associated injurious effects,” Gower wrote, adding later that Cuthbert had failed to provide a viable legal defence to the lawsuit overall.

Gower also addressed Cuthbert’s “carelessness,” agreeing with the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Graham Lang, that Cuthbert “appears to have been wilfully blind to the disturbance her business has caused to the neighbourhood.”

“In this case, there is no question that the nuisance will continue if there is no injunction, just as it has continued, and indeed increased in severity, over the last five years,” Gower wrote.

In a phone interview Oct. 16, Lang said the plaintiffs were relieved with the decision and “ready to put this behind them.”

“This type dispute between neighbours leaves a bad taste in everybody’s mouth,” Lang said. “That being said, obviously, the noise and disturbance coming from Ms. Cuthbert’s lot was, to say the least, extreme, and the amount of relief felt by her immediate neighbours can’t be understated. They’re going to be able to enjoy their properties again, they’re going to be able to sleep again.”

Reached for comment via email, Cuthbert said she plans to file an appeal.

Contact Jackie Hong at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read