By Victor O'Brien
Proposed changes to Cedar Park's animal ordinance are planned to reduce animal hoarding by placing a cap on how many dogs and cats are allowed in each home.
The city proposed the changes after receiving advice from animal welfare specialists and reviewing similar ordinances in other cities. The changes would limit the combined total of dogs and cats in a home to seven. The ordinance will grandfather existing legally registered pets, according to a city news release.
"This is about the safety and well-being of the citizens and animals of Cedar Park," Cedar Park Police Captain Jeff Hayes said.
Hayes said animal hoarding cases have risen in the region.
"The changes to the ordinance would give us the tools we need to really help people and animals," Hayes said.
Citing large cases of animal hoarding in Bastrop, Austin and Dallas in recent years, Hayes said "we hope to prevent this type of neglect and cruelty from happening in Cedar Park in the future."
Residents can voice comments and concerns to officials during a community input meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Cedar Park Recreation Center, 1435 Main St.
Additional changes to the ordinance:
- prohibit animals indoors at food establishments with exception of service dogs
- expand dog and cat registration opportunities
- make the language in line with existing state law
- clarify definitions of language in the laws including clearer definitions for improper treatment, cruelty to animals and dangerous animals
- provide proper legal language regarding enforcement