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Ashley Theiler fights Meire Grove leaders to keep her family's five dogs

Sled dogs or not, in the town of Meire Grove, five canine family members is three too many.

Sled dogs or not, in the town of Meire Grove, five canine family members is three too many.

Rules for dog owners in the central Minnesota town of Meire Grove (pop. 180) read harsh.

Among the regulations canine lovers must heed are "to keep their dog from barking, howling or whining" and having no more "than two dogs on any one premises within the [city] limits."

The latter poses an issue for Ashley Theiler. Her family includes five canines, four of which are working sled dogs. The other is Max. He's dog medicine for Theiler's 11-year-old son Logan, who struggles with anxiety and depression.   

These details matter nada to town officials. They've told the Theilers they must part ways with three dogs. Theiler wants Meire Grove to make an exception and grandfather in all five since the dog limit law just hit the books last summer.

No dice, say city council members. To which Theiler has countered, no worries. She's taken her cause to the people via an online petition, which at last count had 35,000 signees.

Resident Ken Welle served on Meire Grove's city council for 12 years before stepping down three years ago. The postage stamp locale covers an area of about half a square mile and is bisected by Highway 4, the community's main thoroughfare. Wintertime keeps life especially quiet, Welle says. The three other seasons can get noisy.

"I think the laws were because there were so many complaints," he tells City Pages. "I was out the other day and dogs in the town were barking like crazy and there were quite a few of them doing it."

  

Theiler couldn't reach be reached for comment, but tonight she'll take the podium before Meire Grove's council. 

"I will be presenting my petition to city council… I am hoping to [persuade the three members] to grandfather us in as well as all the dogs owned by Meire Grove residents before the ordinance limit was established," reads an update to her online petition. 

Mayor Matt Silbernick didn't respond to repeated interview requests. Silberick, who lives two doors down from the Theilers, told WCCO-TV last week he's unsure if the council will grant the family an exception.

Having more than two dogs in a Meire Grove home is currently a misdemeanor offense.