One of the more spirited conversations at Wednesday’s Holland City Council study session revolved around a proposed update to limits on dog and cat ownership.
Currently Holland’s ordinance limits households to two dogs older than four months (to allow for puppies). The city has no such limit for cats.
But complaints from residents about their neighbors has sparked a drive to cap cat ownership. Holland Police Officer Mike Murphy told city council members one resident has at least 10 cats and may be feeding feral visitors. The wild cats are messing up neighbors’ property, which led to complaints.
With no existing cat limits, police have no way to address cat complaints (unless there’s an obvious abuse or hoarding situation).
Holland’s Public Safety Director Matt Messer told the board he researched similar cities and found limits of up to three adult dogs and five cats. He suggested a 5-pet rule, with a limit of three dogs per household. City council members indicated that there are probably already people with three dogs and raising the limit could lead to more people owning as many as four dogs. Some on the council seemed OK with a 2-dog, 5-cat limit.
Messer said police officers would work with owners of more than five cats — basically they’d be grandfathered in if the current pet ordinance is amended.
Council members will likely hear a first reading of the proposed ordinance at their July 1 meeting, which allows time for the legal language to be crafted and notice of a public hearing to be published.
How many dogs are too many? What’s the highest number of cats you or your neighbor should own?