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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2007
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Hartselle revisiting dog ownership limit

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — The Hartselle City Council may revisit the idea of limiting how many dogs a person can have on one lot.

The decision came after Jimmy Martin and Wayne Minor of Stage Street complained to city leaders about what they called "a loud and stinky situation."

The two said they talked with Police Chief Ron Puckett and were surprised that he couldn't do anything because of Hartselle's animal control ordinance.

The city adopted the ordinance in 1966. It does not limit how many animals a homeowner can have.

City Attorney Larry Madison said the council has other ordinances that regulate kennels, but nothing that governs dog ownership.

"The old ordinance only says they can't stink," Madison said.

Martin said one of his neighbors started moving dog pens on her lot. He said he talked with her and she said she was keeping the dogs for a friend who resides in a mobile home park.

"They bark day and night," Martin said. "They bark and they stink, and we need the city to do something about this situation."

Minor said he believes the neighbor is breeding and selling pit bulldogs.

"They'll have four or five (dogs) one day and 10 or 12 another day," he said.

In 2005, the council said some homes in the city had as many as 15 dogs.

Hartselle talked about limiting each household or residential lot to four adult dogs, with an adult dog being defined as any dog 6 months or older.

There was little public opposition to the change, but the city opted against it, saying nuisances and the health hazards they pose could be handled without amending the ordinance.

Evaluation

Council President Kenny Thompson suggested that city employees evaluate the situation before amending the ordinance.

"It may need amending, but these people need some help right now," he said.

Mayor Dwight Tankersley agreed to investigate the matter.

If Hartselle limits how many dogs a person can own, the city will be the first municipality in Morgan County to do so.

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