Board refers ordinance draft to ad-hoc committee
Waxhaw residents don’t want a limit on the number of animals they can own. That was one of the key points taken away from the Waxhaw town council’s Tuesday, April 12 meeting, where the public could weigh in for the first time about the proposed animal control ordinance.
“The ordinance is going too far, unjustly punishing people who are following the current lease law”, Waxhaw resident David Frick said, “The problem is irresponsibility, people are not containing their pets.”
The proposed ordinance, if approved would impose new license fees, fines, limitations on the number of pets people can own and the proximity of mandated enclosures to adjoining property.
The draft ordinance stipulates a $20 annual license fee for spayed or neutered animals, $40 if not. By comparison, the City of Charlotte charges $10 license for spayed or neutered and $30 for fertile animals.
The Waxhaw ordinance would limit residents to only two dogs older than four months old per household.
“I only have three dogs at this point; I’ve had as many as 10”, Judy Coates, vice president of Piedmont Kennel Club and a Waxhaw resident said, “These proposed laws are too restrictive and so punishing to the responsible owners, I am not sure how you can legislate making people responsible, but punishing everyone doesn’t work.”
Coates shared a concern that breeding would become cost prohibitive in Waxhaw and she characterized the kennel construction requirements as being on par with a Wolf Park laws, which under the Waxhaw draft ordinance would require a secure bottom, lockable doors and embedded two feet deep into the ground.
Coates distributed information from the American Kennel Clubs concerning Animal Limit laws and offered to work personally with commissioners to develop reasonable laws, as did a local dog trainer, Amy Ferguson.
Waxhaw Police Chief Mike Eiss earlier presented the suggested changes at the March meeting.
“We’re not here to punish anybody” Commissioner Martin Lane said, “and I agree 100 percent that there have been some irresponsible owners that are the problem here.”
None of the commissioners spoke in favor of the plan as presented, Commissioner Erin Kirkpatrick emphasized finding solutions that work, Commissioner Brett Diller voiced problems with the fencing requirements and Commissioner Joyce Blithe felt the fees are too high, while commending the efforts of Chief Eiss.
“I think a few people can figure this out” Lane said, “Ms. Coates, Ms. Ferguson and Chief Eiss, get those people in a room and they can come up with a comprehensive plan.”
Mayor Don Gardner suggested the new animal control officer Holly Thomas be included on the committee as well.
Lane made a motion to form, in essence, an ad-hoc committee to report back to the board within 60 days, with specific revisions to the draft plan. The motion passed unanimously.