The county pooch population appears to have been saved from a forced reduction in numbers, thanks to last-minute changes in a new animal-control ordinance.
County commissioners this week approved the new ordinance, but only after deciding that a two-dog limit in unincorporated areas likely would evoke howls of protest from canine lovers. The new ordinance also allows cat owners to have up to four felines, rather than just two, as proposed by Rex Murdock, county animal regulator."The main thing is control. If people in the county own four dogs and won't control them, there will be problems," Murdock said.
"But if people will control their animals, then four dogs won't present a problem. We'll give it a try."
A "grandfather" clause in the ordinance does not cover dogs and cats. Residents with more than four dogs and cats are required to reduce their numbers in compliance with the new ordinance.
Those with animals considered "wild" under the ordinance will be allowed to keep them under the provision of the grandfather clause. But they lose their right to ownership if they give up their animal for a year.
Someone who wants to own more than four dogs and cats "will have to get a kennel license, become a hobby breeder, get rid of some animals or be in violation," Deputy County Attorney Jeril Wilson said. He admitted, however, that enforcement of the regulation won't be easy.
Murdock said enforcement will be based on a complaint basis. If complaints about dogs and cats continue, he said, he will approach the county again with his original proposal of limiting owners to two dogs and two cats.