The fur could fly next month over a proposal to limit La Crosse residents to three dogs or cats.
District 3 council member Ryan Cornett introduced the ordinance change Tuesday after several of his North Side constituents repeatedly complained about neighbors whose small homes and yards are overrun by barking, messy dogs they can’t or won’t control.
The city now allows a total of four dogs or cats in any combination. All must be licensed.
Anyone now with four pets would be allowed to keep that number for as long as the animals live, Cornett said, stressing that no one would be forced to give up that extra cat or dog.
He didn’t view the proposal as punishing all for the misbehavior of a few.
His family has two dogs, “so it’s not like I’m anti-animal, anti-pet,” Cornett said. “I’m just for responsible ownership.”
Though most complaints have been about problem dogs, he included cats in the interest of fairness, “so there are no issues with that down the line,” Cornett said.
The council won’t consider the change until December. Cornett said he also is working on a dangerous animal ordinance that will take more time to develop.
Council member Peg Jerome, who spoke with Cornett about the restrictions before Tuesday’s meeting, said she has some misgivings about reducing the overall number.
“It could be a sensitive issue,” Jerome said. She suggested perhaps leaving the limit at four but allowing only three dogs.
Cornett noted he soon could be bumping up against the new limit if approved: His wife is lobbying to give their daughter a cat for Christmas.