Animal ordinance to get another look
Porterdale council to revisit issue

PORTERDALE - City Council members are scheduled to hold a third reading, public hearing and vote Monday night on an amended animal control ordinance that would require residents to register their pets on an annual basis.

Two changes have been added to the proposed amended ordinance since the first two readings of the ordinance were held Jan. 5.

The first change addresses an animal owner's responsibility to keep pets restrained while off the owner's property. The proposed change would require owners to ensure that the animal is "humanely secured by a leash or lead and under the control of a responsible and competent person."

The second change would allow residents with a lot of at least 3 acres in size to own up to seven pets per dwelling at one time, as opposed to the limit of three pets for residents with less property.

This change was added following a discussion at the Jan. 13 work session in which City Manager Tom Fox mentioned that a resident who does animal rescue work expressed concern that he would not be able to temporarily house pets in his home pending their adoption under the three-pet limit.

As read at the Jan. 5 meeting, the ordinance limits the number of animals that can be lawfully kept by an owner to three per dwelling, although owners who have more than three at the time the ordinance takes effect will be grandfathered. An owner whose animal has a litter that increases the number of animals owned to more than three or that increases the number of animals to more than the number "grandfathered," will have 90 days in which to remove the excess number of animals.

The ordinance also seeks to require pet owners to register each pet - cat, dog or ferret - at City Hall within 60 days of the effective date of the ordinance. At that time, pet owners must fill out a registration form, provide a certificate from a veterinarian showing current rabies vaccination, and pay $5 per animal registered. Owners must also renew the registration for each animal on an annual basis.

Registration fees are earmarked for use in the animal control program.

The City Council is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

Alice Queen can be reached at alice.queen@newtoncitizen.com.