Three is enough?: City council considers new ordinance to limit number of dogs in each home

Published 10:32 pm Wednesday, April 16, 2014

4-17 leash law web



A new leash law the City of Troy is considering may put a limit to the number of dogs each residence is allowed.
The ordinance currently under discussion limits the number of dogs to three per household, with the exception of puppies under the age of three months. The ordinance also takes under consideration the size of the lot.
According to section 4-33, “It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or board on such person’s premises within the corporation limits of the city more than three dogs where any point of the enclosure of the dogs is less than 300 feet from the residence or dwelling of another person, unless such person operates a licensed kennel, veterinary office, humane society or the city’s animal shelter.”
During the work session preceding the City Council’s last meeting, Councilman Greg Meeks questioned section 4-33.
“I don’t know if we can tell them they can’t have more than three dogs,” he said. “Are we going to start telling them they can’t have more than three kids?”
Meeks said he did not know anyone personally who had more than three dogs.
“I know people with more than three dogs and I wish they didn’t have any,” said Councilwoman Dejerilyn Henderson.
The ordinance was modeled after Wetumpka’s.
Mayor Jason Reeves said he thought the number of dogs allowed would have been higher than three.
“Nobody wants to live close to somebody with 10 dogs if they’re running around in the yard,” he said.
The proposed ordinance includes a section on barking.
“It shall be unlawful for any person in charge or control of any premises within the city to have or allow upon such premises any dog which barks continuously,” states the ordinance. Continuously is defined as barking for the majority of any 10-minute period.
Reeves said an update to the city’s animal control ordinance has been in the works for some time.
The urgency of the issue was confirmed after a February incident in Tallassee where a 4-year-old girl was mauled to death. Tallassee had no leash law in place at the time.
In addition to limiting the number of dogs residents may have, the ordinance states that all dogs must be kept under restraint at all times. The proposed ordinance also covers the ownership of vicious or dangerous dogs.
Dogs are defined as vicious or dangerous if they have been trained for dog fighting, attacked a person or domestic animal or has a “propensity, tendency or disposition to attack, cause injury or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or other domestic animals as evidenced by its habitual or repeated chasing, snapping or barking.”
Vicious or dangerous dogs are not allowed off the owner’s property unless under the control of someone 16 or older.
Any animal that is the subject of animal cruelty or is illegally running at large may be seized and impounded.
The ordinance lists a dozen situations that permit an animal control or police officer to seize and impound a dog. The situations include any dog not wearing a current rabies vaccination tag; any abandoned dog; any dog running at large; any dog not under restraint; any unconfined female dog during breeding season; and any dog considered a public nuisance.
The ordinance also says impounded dogs will be held for at least seven days before being “disposed of.”
Violating any section of the ordinance is call for fines of up to $500.
The council will hear from those who work in animal control and discuss the proposed ordinance at the April 22 meeting.