CEDAR CITY – Cedar City is growing but among the additional homes, residents and businesses the city may also have a few more dogs moving in under a proposed amendment to the existing ordinance.
The council discussed in length Wednesday night changing a city ordinance that currently only permits two dogs per household. If passed, the amendment would allow for three dogs but only under certain conditions – the dogs would have to be in a kennel, licensed and registered with the American Kennel Club.
Resident Wynn Isom brought the issue to the council’s attention. Isom currently owns three purebred dogs.
Cedar City Animal Control was called on Isom earlier this year when two of his dogs were running loose in his neighborhood. At that time, Isom learned he was violating the current ordinance.
He began looking then at other communities to find a solution that would allow him to own three dogs and still be in compliance with the law.
He initially requested the council allow for five dogs, pointing to several other communities including St. George which have what is termed a “sportsmanship” permit.
“What I’m proposing is a sportsmanship permit,” Isom said. “It would allow people who have purebred AKC registered animals to have up to five, as long as they’re tagged and have their current shots.”
Police Chief Bob Allinson discouraged the council from allowing for five dogs.
“It’s just not conducive,” he said. “We get a lot of complaints about people with just one dog.”
Some on the council felt limiting dog ownership to AKC registered animals would increase the chance dog owners would be more responsible.
“People who have pure bred dogs like this are responsible dog owners and they take care of them,” Councilman Paul Cozzens said.
The discussion also took into consideration whether the amendment would permit only registered “sporting” animals or if it would include all purebred dogs.
Still, Cozzens said he felt the issue was really about being a good neighbor more than the number of dogs someone owns.
“Really what all these things boil down to is being good neighbors,” Cozzens said. “If you’re a good neighbor and not irritating your neighbor, than that’s really what matters.”
Councilman Craig Isom proposed limiting the minimum lot size to a half-acre. No final decisions were made however Allinson reminded the council dogs can still bark and be considered a nuisance regardless of the size of the property.
Allinson also asked the council to think about the impact the proposed change could have on the city.
“I think you’re going to be challenged. People will question if it’s fair that they can’t have three AKC registered dogs just because they live in a trailer,” Allinson said. “It’s not as easy as just saying, ‘let’s make this change.’ You need to look at the overall impact.”
Cozzens recommended setting a sunset clause in the amendment that would expire in a year. This would give the council an opportunity to decide whether to adopt the change permanently.
City Council members are slated to vote on the proposed amendment next week during their regular Wednesday meeting.
The City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. every Wednesday at City Hall in the council chambers at 10 N. Main St.
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