Wisconsin Couple Vows to Give up Home Before Dogs

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In early January, a couple in pursuit of the American dream moved to Wausau, Wisconsin, buying a home with the thought of settling down. In just two months, that home was back on the market, and James and Melissa Lecker say they are even willing to take a loss to unload it.

melissa lecker and chester1That’s because the town has told them to choose between their home or their dogs. The Leckers moved to Wasau without realizing that the town has an ordinance limiting the number of pets a resident may legally own. The limit for dogs is two: the Leckers own four dogs.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Melissa Lecker said after a police officer notified her she was in violation of the law and subject to a fine of more than $100 per day. “I had never heard of anything like that.”

Lecker says the town gave her an ultimatum, and she and her husband asked them to reconsider. That request fell on deaf ears.

“They told us that the ordinance clearly states they cannot work with us, that it’s either two dogs or that you have to move, as you can’t have four dogs here.”

Faced with the decision, the Leckers said it was an easy one to make.

“These dogs are our family. They are just like our children,” she says. She goes on to explain that her four dogs are worth more to her than money or a house. “This house doesn’t mean as much to us as they do.”

The Leckers have put the house on the market and say they are willing to take a $15,000 loss in order sell it. If leaving town is what it takes to keep their family together, they are ready to move on.

“I hope we can work something out,” Melissa said. “But they are just being so mean. My dogs didn’t bother anyone.”