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DMN Reports Dallas Animal Friendly Ordinance Success! Okay to Cross Post

From: Margaret
Sent on: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 3:44 PM
Wonderful News!   Yesterday, animal advocates successfully introduced City of Dallas ordinances that will make the lives of animals vastly better in the future.   Despite vociferous opposition by mainly hunters and breeders, the force of reason prevailed and the Dallas Quality of Life committee approved the new animal ordinances, which were sent to the city attorney to draft code language.
 
In June, 2008, the proposed animal code will be brought to the City Council for a final vote. At that time, your support will be essential to the final passage of these ordinances into law.   I will do my best to keep D/FW animal advocates informed on these issues. 
 
My most sincere thanks to all those, who supported these animal friendly ordinances and contacted the City of Dallas to say so.   Special thanks and kudos to Skip Trimble and his associates for their key role in crafting this important step forward for the humane  treatment of animals in Dallas.
 
See the below summary of the enlightened proposed code published in the DMN.  Although it is not mentioned in the DMN article, the ordinance allows rescuers to register at no cost to be exempt from limits on animals in the home.
 
Thank you.
Margaret Morin
Vegetarian Network of Dallas
 
 
 
Dallas dog and cat owners object to proposal to curb pets
11:20 PM CDT on Monday, April 28, 2008
By RUDOLPH BUSH / The Dallas Morning News
[address removed]
 
A plan to enact strict new rules for pet ownership in Dallas drew sharp opposition at City Hall on Monday, despite the City Council's insistence that something must be done to address a massive and growing stray-dog problem.
 
Video

Pet owners at Bark Park Central near downtown Dallas voiced their opinions about a proposal that would limit pets per household to six and require animals to be spayed or neutered. (DMN - Video/editing: Kimberly Durnan)
 
Pet owners, breeders and dog show participants showed up in force to protest the proposed changes, which include mandatory spaying and neutering of pets and limiting Dallas households to a total of six cats and dogs.
 
"I do believe there is a stray-dog problem, but these particular changes won't solve that," said Sarah Hebler, owner of a Belgian Tervuren she doesn't want to have fixed.
 
Many who attended the meeting said the plan will place new burdens on responsible pet owners and do nothing to stop people who don't follow current regulations.
 
But city officials, including Animal Shelter Advisory Commission Chairman Robert "Skip" Trimble, said the city can't stand by anymore while packs of dogs run wild in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
 
It's also wrong for the city and other shelters to continue to euthanize tens of thousands of unwanted animals each year without trying to stem their breeding, he said.
 
"I can't tell you if this will or will not work. I can tell you if we don't have it, we are going to continue exactly with what we have now," Mr. Trimble said.
 
Committee members agreed to have a briefing before the entire council on the proposed ordinance changes. The date has not been set but is likely to come before the council's July break.
 
Ten council members attended Monday's quality-of-life committee meeting. And while each had questions about specific details of the proposed new rules, they seemed largely positive about the proposal.
 
"Of over 63,[masked] calls in 2007, 24,462 were for loose and aggressive animals. ...We euthanized, we killed 28,479. That's not acceptable. We need to do something different," Mayor Pro Tem Elba Garcia said.
 
She said Dallas is the only large city in the country that doesn't have laws on the books to address at least one of the following: mandatory spaying and neutering, limits on pet ownership and restrictions on tethering.
 
"I'm tired of the catch, cage and kill mentality," she said.
 
But several council members also seemed eager to acknowledge the concerns of the crowd and the heavy emotions that surround pet ownership.
 
In a sometimes tense back and forth, council member Sheffie Kadane told Mr. Trimble that he recently picked up two dogs from the streets but decided not to take them to the city's shelter because he feared they would be killed.
 
"Why can't we make our current ordinances work?" Mr. Kadane asked of the proposal that all dogs and cats be spayed and neutered.
 
Mr. Trimble said the numbers are just overwhelming. Each day, 200 to 300 strays come into the city's shelter, while only eight to 10 are adopted.
 
"You can't execute enough of them. ... We're only seeing a small number in the shelter compared to the pet population. There is only one way to stop the supply and that is making them incapable of reproduction," Mr. Trimble said.
 
Several council members were also concerned about a key exception to the mandatory spay and neuter proposal.
 
Under the proposal, owners could pay the city $500 per animal, per year for a breeder's license. The license would be available only to owners of breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club or the American Cat Fanciers Association.
 
Several council members said the fee was excessive, a point with which many pet owners agreed.
 
"I'm 64 years old, and I have emphysema. I can barely afford my medicine, and now I have to pay $500 a year or get my dog neutered? I'd rather get rid of my medication," said Jeff Burns, a Lakewood resident and owner of a Labrador retriever named Alex.
 
Southern-sector council members Vonciel Jones Hill and Dwaine Caraway gave voice, meanwhile, to constituents who didn't speak out at Monday's meeting, those who have to live in communities overrun with strays.
 
"We have a concern that must be addressed. We have kids that are trying to play outside, that cannot go outside because of the stray dogs," Mr. Caraway said.
 
Ms. Hill added that while animal owners have rights, those must be balanced with community concerns.
 
"Loose and aggressive animals are an enormous problem which have adversely affected the quality of life in my district," she said. "What we're doing presently is unacceptable. We must do something different."
 
Proposed restrictions
LIMITS ON OWNERSHIP
No more than a total of six dogs and cats per household.
 
MANDATORY SPAYING, NEUTERING
Required for all dogs and cats except:
?Those whose owners purchase a $500 breeder permit per animal, per year. The permit would only be available for breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club or the American Cat Fanciers Association.
?Animals younger than 6 months, service dogs for the disabled and animals that compete in shows.
 
TETHERING RESTRICTIONS
?Dogs cannot be restrained outside the presence of an owner except for "a period of time no longer than necessary for an owner to complete a temporary task."
?Tethered dogs must be tied up wearing a nylon or leather collar.
CONFINEMENT RESTRICTIONS
?A minimum of 150 square feet for an adult dog
?A structure sufficient to prevent escape
?Access to shelter in a building or dog house
 
DANGEROUS-DOG PROPOSALS
?Streamline the process to determine if a particular dog is dangerous.
?Allow the city to hold a dangerous dog longer than 10 days to determine whether it's dangerous.
?Allow the city to order a dangerous dog euthanized or removed from the city.
?Allow the city to impound a dangerous dog, if an owner fails to comply with confinement requirements.
 
SOURCE: City of Dallas


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