By Gregg Jones
Union Missourian Editor
There will be no changes to the city ordinance that limits the number of pets in residential neighborhoods.
The city’s parks, building, development and public service committee members agreed that they would not recommend changes to the city code that limits three dogs in residential homes.
In September, West Springfield Avenue resident Sarah Hohlt had requested the change in the law so she could foster dogs through a state rescue organization.
City code allows for three pets with a home in R-2 zoning districts. In other zoning districts, people may apply for kennel licenses to house more than three animals. Kennels are only permitted in B-2 and I-1 districts.
Hohlt said she already has three dogs of her own, but wants to provide temporary housing for animals that are victims of neglect and abuse.
She has stated that any animal she takes in is cleaned, dewormed, spayed or neutered, and microchipped.
City Administrator Russell Rost looked into codes for neighboring cities and stated that Washington has lenient animal codes, and does not limit the number of pets per home, but does require that the homeowner meet some conditions.
Rost added that Pacific allows for up to five animals in a home without a kennel license, and Owensville does not have codes regulating the number of animals in a home.
The city of Sullivan has the most stringent code, according to Rost, which restricts foster homes within 200 feet of a home. Those fostering animals must also follow state regulations.
He further added that there have been complaints about rescue animals.
“Most of the complaints we have had for too many dogs were for rescue animals,” he said.
It was suggested that the city change its code to allow for up to five animals in fostering situations only.
“Why is it fair to tell a foster (home) they can have five, but an other resident can only have three?” asked Mayor Mike Livengood.
Rost added that five dogs could be too many in some homes.
“Five dogs may be fine in some homes, but too many for others,” Rost said.
Alderman Dustin Bailey has said if the city allowed more than three animals at a home, it could be done by a conditional use permit. Under a conditional use permit, adjacent landowners must be notified of the application and hearings before a permit is issued.
However, Bailey did not make that recommendation.
It would be difficult to regulate those permits, said Alderman Paul Arand.
“People could have five dogs and we won’t know if they are fostering or not,” he said. “That is opening up something we don’t want.”
Assistant Police Chief Kyle Kitcher noted that police respond often to animal complaint calls, specifically dogs complaints.
Bailey said residents may think they can own five dogs if they see others, who have permits, with five animals in a home.
“I applaud what you do, but for the rest of the community it is not a good fit,” said Arand.