Dog ordinance 'number limits' in homes are not logical or valid
Dog number limit ordinances lead to a decrease in pet licensing taxes by scared dog owners over the dog limit imposed.
By Dean A. Ayers
Lead Investigative Reporter
30 June 2012
Dog owners face more discrimination than ever before.
Dogs and dog owners face more discrimination than ever before in American society. While local, city, county, state, and federal entities pay lip service to the dog as man’s best friend by passing tyranny dog limiting ordinances and laws, We the People as a whole community allow fear and politics to determine the parameters of dog ownership based upon emotions not logic and common sense in law making.
We the People, spend hundreds of millions of dollars on premium foods, veterinary care, toys, kennels, pet sitters, training classes, and more even while limiting the number and type of dogs an owner can house. We use dogs to aid in catching criminals, search for victims of crimes and natural disasters, help handicapped humans, and provide emotional support even while barring dogs from communities if they exceed a certain weight, certain breed to be banned, or limits to the number of dogs allowed in a home even if they are properly cared for and loved as family.
The disadvantages of 'dog number' limits in homes are:
Dog owners in some communities face a limit on the number of pets they can own, but these limits, too, are counterproductive.
Laws that criminalize pet ownership based on numbers alone have been declared unconstitutional in some states because they do not address the need to control nuisances or provide for the health and safety of residents.
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the state’s highest court, has declared such a law unconstitutional in that state, citing a precedent in Kadash v City of Williamsport:
“What is not an infringement upon public safety and is not a nuisance cannot be made one by legislative fiat and then prohibited....
“Even legitimate legislative goals cannot be pursued by means which stifle fundamental personal liberty when the goals can otherwise be more reasonably achieved.”
A dog or pet limit ordinance is difficult to enforce without increased presence of animal control or police agencies and often leads to a decrease in pet licensing to prevent cross-referencing of license records. If the law is enforced only upon complaint, it becomes just another law for people to circumvent and further erodes confidence in legislative bodies.
Numbers have no relationship to nuisances. A person with one dog that runs loose or barks all night is a greater nuisance than a person with a dozen dogs that are quiet, clean, and kept at home.
Limiting people to four dogs (or fewer) puts an unreasonable strain on people who raise show dogs, compete in performance trials, participate in canine rescue operations, foster dogs for service dog organizations, etc. and can lead to those responsible dog owners leaving the community.
A number limit causes dog deaths by forcing people to give up dogs they own, thus causing crowding in local shelters; denying people the opportunity to buy an additional dog from a shelter or a rescue; and adversely impacting rescue groups and foster homes that help find new homes for dogs whose owners cannot keep them.
Alternatives to number limits are:
- Passage and enforcement of strict nuisance laws.
- Use of an arbitrator to mediate neighborhood disputes about animals.
- Use of alternative sentencing such as community service at the county animal shelter or attendance at a full obedience training course for those who violate nuisance ordinances.
- Periodic programs or mailings about responsible dog ownership or city sponsorship of a Canine Good Citizen test to encourage residents to be responsible dog owners.
Animal laws are not always a result of state and federal battles. Squabbles between neighbors often erupt over animals, squabbles that often spill over into law enforcement or animal control filed complaints to local governments.
As an emotional result the local government greases the squeaky wheel complaints by citizens with even more stricter ordinances or other tacked on to the zoning code or the criminal codes to existing animal ordinances.
Dog limit ordinances are often passed out of frustration, with little consideration for the consequences or valid and factual basis to make any “positive or constructive” benefit to the community regarding dog complaints. These unconstitutional “intrusive” animal care and control ordinances serve only as a government official “feel good” action giving “We the People” even more tyranny in our local animal control ordinances and our lives on private property.
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