HAMILTON: Pet limit change adopted

Measure sets limits on scale based on lot size

by James McEvoy, Managing Editor
HAMILTON — The Township Council unanimously passed an ordinance increasing pet limits for most township residents.
   The measure, which sets limits on a sliding scale based upon lot size of a given property, was passed Tuesday nightafter being previously introduced at the Nov. 6 Township Council meeting.
   Under the limit change, a resident on a property with 25,000 square feet would be allowed a limit of six pets. The figure also applies to rural properties.
   Business administrator John Ricci said lot sizes of 10,000 and 15,000 square feet would continue to have a limit of four pets.
   The limit under the previous ordinance was two.
   The regulation also includes an exception for those fostering animals.
   Specifically, the ordinance reads the “limitation shall not apply to an operating farm or residents of a single-family detached dwelling who are members of a bona fide active 501c3 nonprofit animal rescue organization that fosters dogs and/or cats on a temporary basis.”
   Officials continued to suggest the limits would be a reactive measure to ensure the township has some way to police incidents where residents don’t use common sense in caring for their pets.
   ”I think (the ordinance) is well thought out,” said Councilman Dennis Pone. “I think it goes a long way to solving some problems that we have while not stepping on the toes (of others).
   ”I think we’re on the right track with this one,” he added.
   Prior to the passage, residents mostly expressed support for the change during a public hearing.
   Sheri Boan Griffin, of the Res-Q-Pets, a rescue group, said she appreciated the council’s efforts in pursuing the change.
   ”We cannot stress how important the passage of this ordinance is,” Ms. Griffin said, who also noted the rescue groups’ efforts in helping the community by taking in animals when the township shelter is closed.
   ”We’re giving a service back,” she said.
   Lisa Williams was also supportive of the ordinance due to its exemption on rescue groups.
   ”I think it’s a good ordinance and I think it goes along way to help us do what we need to do,” she said.
   Resident Janice Glonek reiterated her belief from previous meetings that there should be no limit in the number of pets a resident can have.
   ”What’s in your house is your domain,” Ms. Glonek said. “If (pets are) in your house it makes no difference to me.
   ”What I have in my house is my business,” she added.
   Al Dubovic, of Locust Avenue, argued that the increase was not enough, as it did not take into consideration owners leaving theirs pets with others on a temporary basis.
   ”I have a sister with two cats, if I want to help her out when she goes away I would be (in violation),” he said, noting he has his own pets.
   Councilman David Kenny replied that the ordinance just gives officials a standard and an avenue to address complaints from neighbors if they were to arise.
   ”I don’t think some neighbor’s going to call up and complain if you have two extra cats for a week or two,” Councilman Kenny said. “There’s some discretion that gets shown.
   ”We had this ordinance in place for probably 30 or 40 years limiting it to two and I’m sure you can count on one hand how many times it’s been enforced,” he added.
   After the ordinance’s passage, Council President Ed Gore also noted that the township received communications from some residents expressing a desire to keep the ordinance as is.
   Others said the ordinance underscored the need to address the issue of feral cats in the township.