Should some residents legally be allowed to have more than two adult dogs living on their property?

The City Council has reviewed a possible kennel law that would complement the Davis County Animal Control ordinance. Information has been forwarded to the planning commission.The study is part of a six-month ongoing effort that started after the city received two requests for having more than two dogs. Mayor Neldon Hamblin said the city's trying to get a pulse for what it should do. He's not interested in a hasty decision, nor one that someone might take advantage of.

"It's those who don't love and take care of their pets that are the problem," Hamblin said.

Current county ordinances allow only two dogs per household. Puppies are exempt from this and from licensing until they are 6 months of age. Extra dogs that are temporarily being taken care of are also exempt for up to 30 days.

The council also heard a presentation by DeAnne Hess, director of Davis County Animal Control.

She said the city would be wise in any new ordinance to differentiate between those raising animals professionally to make money and those who just have pets.

Lorraine Frecker is one Clearfield resident who is lobbying to keep her three dogs. She ended up with the three animals after a child with her own dog unexpectedly moved back home.

"There needs to be some kind of attitude and flexibility here," she said. "Everything is not black and white."

Larry Waggoner, city attorney, said Frecker is already in violation of the current law and that's why the council is reviewing it.

Frecker said she knows of at least eight families in her neighborhood who have three dogs illegally.

"But they don't register them," she said, explaining she came forth publicly to try and meet the law.



Department tries to be flexible, lenient

Davis County Animal Control doesn't try to be heavy-handed but to be lenient in enforcing the law when people have more than two dogs, said Animal Control director DeAnne Hess.

She said the department has been flexible in some recent cases, allowing up to 90 days for compliance - unless there has been a severe barking or feces problem with the dogs.

Hess explained one case where a divorce led to three dogs at one residence.

"I don't feel it's appropriate to yank the animals away," Hess said.

In another Clearfield case, Hess said a homeowner bought two new dogs to replace a 13-year-old dog they believed would soon die. However, four years later the dog is still alive. He'll die soon, but Hess said a special allowance was made as long as there were no neighborhood complaints regarding the three dogs.

Still, she has to enforce the law.

"We're a law-enforcement agency. We're not always going to make people happy," she said.

Animal officers go door-to-door in the county to solicit licenses and check on renewals but only when they have the extra time to do so.

"We want people to know we're out in the community," she said, explaining most Davis County cities contract with the county for their animal control.

She said some residents also simply aren't aware it's illegal to have more than two dogs.