Should communities limit the number of pets allowed per household? The topic can be a hot button issue if there are currently no limits on the number of pets per household. Businessmen speak with enthusiasm about “growing the business” and increasing their customer base, revenues and profits. In the absence of pet limits animal control officials too will be growing the business but in ways they may not anticipate and usually in a negative way.
As an animal control official you need to control and reduce the number of pet related problems in the areas you serve. Without pet limits people are encouraged to keep more dogs and cats than they are able to care for and this in itself generates its own problems including growing the business. Communities without pet limits attract as new residents those with a large number of dogs and cats who are looking for a place where they can do as they wish with their animals. These are irresponsible pet owners. These communities are fertile ground for hoarders, illegal breeders and sometimes drug dealers and those engaged in illegal dog fighting.
Yet, “growing the business” can be a good thing. Let me explain. The animal control agency’s role can expand in a positive way that benefits the animals, their owners and the community at large. Scheduling low cost rabies clinics, offering obedience training for pet owners and their pets and offering low cost spay neuter services for dogs and cats are just a few ways to benefit the animals and their owners and make a positive contribution to the community at an affordable cost…
Pet limits offer several advantages. First, the scope of community animal problems will be reduced simply because the number of animals in the community will be less. Second, by reducing the number of pets allowed per household, both the governmental client and the animal control provider encourage cost containment, because the number of calls for service will begin to drop and may require fewer personnel. Third, hoarders and others who may abuse animals will be discouraged from keeping more than the allowed number of animals because it will be unlawful. If there are those who have more than the allowed limit at the time pet limits take effect, they can be grandfathered in to keep their pets provided they provide humane care and meet the requirements in the local ordinance or local law.
Explaining the rationale for pet limits can help pave the way for more responsible pet ownership and allowing animals and people to coexist peacefully in a community setting.