CEDAR CITY – Newly proposed changes in the city’s dog ordinance discussed during last week’s Cedar City Council meeting got a little bit of attention recently when community members took to social media to express their disapproval.
Some of them included members of the group Friends of Festival Country K9s, who sent their president Diane Gil to address the council during Wednesday’s meeting.
Gil told the council she wanted to weigh in on the issue prior to the May 4 meeting, when the council plans to bring back the proposed changes for further discussion. She was hoping to raise some points the council would consider.
The main changes to the ordinance proposed last week, if passed, would allow residents to own three dogs instead of the two now permitted. However, ownership of three animals would be restricted to those animals that are registered with the American Kennel Club and are in a kennel.
Gil said her group supports owners having three dogs because it would allow more animals to be adopted from the shelters. However, Gil’s group does not support ownership of only AKC-registered animals. They would like to see the council reconsider changes allowing for all breeds.
“We realize the some people are afraid that raising the limit will be an outlet for more people to breed dogs,” Gil said. “But if there are requirements in place such as an application process that requires breeders to be Breeders of Merit with the AKC, and if owners are required to spay and neuter their pets as applicable and prove that they are responsible dog owners, then raising the limit for all breeds, mixed breeds, as well as purebreds, could help find homes for many animals that are in our shelters.”
AKC Breeder of Merit is described on the organization’s website as a person who demonstrates a commitment to the AKC community, dedication to their breeds, and actively promotes the sport of purebred dogs. There are several requirements to be accepted into the program.
The council advocated for the AKC registration under the notion owners of those types of dogs would be more responsible since the price tag for these dogs can range from $300 to thousands of dollars.
Gil provided the council with a paper defining a responsible dog owner. Such an owner offers proper nutrition through diet and clean water at all times, provides proper housing to keep dogs warm in the winter and cool in summer, vaccinates and offers proper veterinary checkup routinely, and offers daily exercise, play time, attention and mental stimulation.
Likewise, the paper stated, responsible dog owners “will not keep their dogs locked in kennels, on chains or areas for lengthy times where they can be a nuisance to others with incessant barking and other nuisance behaviors.”
Gil also raised an issue with the council’s proposal to require dog owners with three dogs to keep them in a kennel. This type of environment for long periods is not healthy for dogs and does not promote socialization, she said.
The K9 group’s president asked the council to speak with professionals before moving forward with its proposal.
“We urge you to speak with professionals in the dog world as well as your city employee Tina Garrison, who works for you at the Cedar City Animal Shelter and was city employee of the year last year because she deserved it,” she said. “She is very knowledgeable in the world of animals and decisions like this should be considered by speaking to people who know the business of animals.”
Gil also recommended Gail Workman, the director of education for the K-9 group, as another resource.
Finally, she suggested council members review dog ordinances enacted in larger areas.
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