One of the issues brought up at the tail end of the last council meeting was the number of dogs one should be allowed to have in town. This all stems from a valid complaint from a Paulann resident.
It seems that one of the residents is breeding dogs on their property and selling them over the internet. Don't remember the breed, but we are talking registered dogs that sell for several hundred dollars. It seems that these dogs are a constant source of irritation to the neighbors with their constant barking and horrible smell. It is also obvious that the dog breeders are running a business from their home that is inappropriate for residential neighborhoods. There are likely other problems as well. The people that brought the complaint have been trying for two years to resolve the problem with little help from the city government and with the helpful hint from the breeders "If you don't like it, move."
So far we know they are violating at least two city ordinances: the noise ordinance, and health code on animal waste. It is also doubtful that all 30 dogs in the back yard have the required licenses and vaccinations. There are zoning ordinances about the types of businesses being run in an RS1 residential area. There are plenty of legal tools to use to stop these breeders from bothering their neighbors and creating a health hazard. This doesn't include other possible civil remedies that the neighbors and possibly the local home owners association could take.
The proposal presented to council was to limit the total number of dogs a resident could have. I heard numbers suggested from 2 to 6 but I remain skeptical that this is a good solution. For two years, these breeders have been reported for violating at least 3 city ordinances, yet it is only recently that the city attorney has started moving forward. If code enforcement and other city officials can't enforce 3 ordinances, can they enforce 4 any better? Next, I know people that can't responsibly own 1 or 2 dogs. They let their dogs run the neighbor hood knocking over trash cans, tearing up property, barking all night and pretty much acting like Osama Bin Pitbull. I also know people that have lots of dogs but you never know it because they don't cause trouble in the neighborhood. These people take care of their dogs well because they care about their neighbors and their pets.
This seems to be a case of Deja Vu. In January we had a similar issue about trash. We were told by code enforcement that there were scofflaws out there that just moved junk from one piece of property they owned to another, and code enforcement needed to have some mandatory escalating fines in order to force these people to comply. At the February 7th Council meeting, Judge Gilbert gave the actual numbers. Of the 38 cases of failure to comply with an abatement order, only 2 were repeat offenders. It was also noted that the ordinance and fines were against the property owner, and not the location as they had been led to believe. The need for the mandatory fines was seen to be unnecessary, and the issue was tabled indefinitely.
This seems to be a similar case. We have city officials that are feeling the heat because of a problem that has been ongoing for at least two years. They are complaining they don't have the tools they need to do the job when the plain evidence is that they have not really used the tools they have very well at all. We already have plenty of laws on the books to make and keep neighborhood clean and livable. Lets use them effectively instead of adding another one to be ignored as well.