Copperas Cove City Council members Tuesday clarified a loosely worded animal ordinance regarding the number of pets allowed per household.
The original ordinance allowed four dogs or cats per person — meaning a family of five was legally able to house up to 20 dogs.
The new ordinance stipulates only four dogs or cats are allowed per household.
Before the meeting, area resident George Fox, president of Assisi Animal Foundation and Shelter, said he was concerned about the animals that are now out of regulation.
“We don’t want people taking pets to get put down just because the city can’t keep its ordinances straight,” he said.
At the meeting, City Manager Andrea Gardner said she spoke with Fox about the issue and brought it forward for the council’s consideration Tuesday.
City Attorney Habib Erkan said the city could address that problem by providing exceptions to pets that already were licensed with the city.
“If someone thought they could have four (dogs or cats) for the husband and four for the wife ... they licensed all eight of them, and they could prove they were licensed before the effective date, then they could keep those licensed animals,” he said.
Erkan said there would be no way to prove dogs or cats were not purchased after the new four-per-household limit unless they already were registered with the city.
Mike Heintzelman, deputy police chief of animal control, said the city has written two warnings and one citation for violations of the ordinance in the last three years.
“So it’s not like we’re overwhelmed with it,” he said.
Heintzelman and Gardner said officials would not be policing the issue and would respond only to formal complaints.
Heintzelman said officers would try to work with residents to find rescue homes for out-of-compliance households with too many dogs or cats.
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