Sister sitters’ critter crush drives
News Staff Writer
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Savanah, Cassady and Amanda Hyland, 11, 8 and 5, with
their neighbor's white German shepherd, Quinn. The girls started
ManalaPetSitters and spread the word in their neighborhood about their
pet-sitting and house-sitting service, but then learned of the town's
ban on commercial solicitation. They won a Manalapan Town Commission
decision to exempt minors from the code prohibition.
MANALAPAN — The Hyland home on Point
Manalapan has room for dad Paul, a general and vascular surgeon; his wife,
Gina, a stay-at-home mom; and their three daughters, Savanah, Cassady and
There are also two Persian cats and a
blue-fronted Amazon parrot.
Because of the cats, there are no dogs
living in their home.
But because the Hyland girls love dogs,
they get their canine fix by visiting neighbors' dogs as they stroll
From that love, a business —
ManalaPetSitters — was born earlier this year.
"We love all kinds of things about
pets," said Savanah, 11. "If you walked down the street with a
dog, we'd probably attack you with treats and love."
Her middle sister agrees.
"They are fuzzy and cute. I just
really like to take care of them," said Cassady, 8.
At the start of the year, the girls
worked with their mom to create a Web site, www.ManalaPetSitters.com. They
ordered business cards, T-shirts and hats to further market the fledgling
business, which includes house-sitting services such as watering plants and
bringing in the newspaper and mail. They even ordered a magnetic sign for
the family car.
But when they placed door-hanger
advertisements on homes in the Point and the rest of Hypoluxo Island in
February, they ran into trouble.
It turns out Manalapan's town code bans
commercial solicitors, no matter their age.
On Tuesday, the Town Commission quickly
approved on first reading an ordinance amendment that would exempt minors
from the peddlers and solicitors regulations. A second unanimous vote
directed police not to enforce the existing ordinance against minors.
"Go for it, girls," Vice Mayor
Kelly Gottlieb said. "They have done a lot of work, and they deserve
the attention of the residents of Manalapan for what they've done. When you
see their advertising, you'll be very impressed."
Gina Hyland, who accompanies the girls on
every job, said the project has been educational.
"We home-schooled the girls, so I
always encourage them to do different things and to follow their
interests," Hyland said. "This happens to be one of them. They've
learned about planning for a business, budgeting, marketing and now the
The girls are also learning about
philanthropy. They plan to donate 10 percent of their profits to charity.
One of those charities, Savanah said, will be Forgotten Soldiers Outreach,
which sends care packages to soldiers serving outside the United States.
ManalaPetSitters will be back in business
as of Saturday, Hyland said.
Cassady said she enjoys working with her
"It's fun we get to do things
together," she said. "It's kind of a dream come true."