Friday, September 12, 2008

TOP STORY > >Animal ordinance could be repealed

Leader staff writer

The new animal control ordinance passed by Cabot City Council last month is back on the agenda for the Monday night meeting, but this time it is almost certain to be scrapped in favor of the old rules.

The new ordinance, scheduled to go into effect Sept. 19, limited the number of pets that residents could have to any combination of four dogs and cats. And that had some residents upset. The new ordinance also would have required pet owners to pay $30 to relinquish animals to the shelter for adoption and defined an owner as anyone who has fed an animal for five days.

If the council rescinds the ordinance, the old rules will apply. Residents will be allowed to keep four dogs and any number of cats they choose. But reinstating the old ordinances is only a stopgap measure. As council members discussed both the old and new ordinance this week, they realized they didn’t really like either one.

Alderman Becky Lemaster said the public works committee will discuss next month eliminating the limit on dogs and cats altogether.

“We’re going to go with an unlimited number of animals because we have no business telling people what they can have in their houses,” Lemaster said.

The ordinance passed last month also banned animals with hooves – hogs, sheep and goats – but the old ordinance allowed them providing the lot where they were kept was a specified size.

Lemaster said that provision is certain to be incorporated into the next ordinance that is drafted.

Lemaster said she does not keep goats, but knows an elderly man who does and she thinks anyone with enough land for hoofed animals should be allowed to have them. Some residents were concerned that the ordinance passed in August would prevent them from fostering animals that would otherwise be killed. Some of the discussion at the committee meeting this week centered on a possible addition to a new ordinance to deal with fostering. But if a new ordinance eliminates the limit on the number of dogs and cats allowed, no provision for fostering would be necessary.

The council meets at 7 p.m., in the council chambers of the city annex. Also on the agenda are two appointments to the parks commission. If the council approves the resolutions, Kelly Spencer will replace Dennis Reeder on the commission and John Stephen Tipton will be reappointed. Tipton was appointed to replace a commission member who resigned. He has not served a full term.