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Animal ordinance takes one step closer to becoming a reality

Oct. 18, 2013
By Carley Dangona


WEST SPRINGFIELD The number of pets owned by a West Springfield resident was the subject of testimony during a public hearing on an updated Animal Control ordinance.

At its regular meeting on Oct. 7, the Town Council conducted the second half of the public hearing for the proposed document that was initiated in May, but was continued twice due to the budget cycle. The current ordinance is 30-years-old.

The main concern voiced by the residents who spoke during the second half of the hearing was the limiting of the number of animals a resident could own.

One citizen said, "The limits to the number of pets owners can have is unfair to responsible pet owners."

The proposed document reads, "No person shall keep more than six companion animals over the age of six months, provided that there be no more than three dogs over the age of six months at any residence without complying with the requirements of the West Springfield Zoning Ordinance, and obtaining a kennel license as defined herein."

Council President Kathy Bourque advised that once the ordinance was approved, the regulations related to the ordinance would be developed by the Town Clerk, the Animal Control officer, the Health Department director and a representative from the Police Department.

She noted that the issues of feral cats and dangerous dogs would be regulated by these guidelines, not the ordinance itself.

Bourque explained that the Home Rule Charter did not require a public hearing on the regulations because they are not an ordinance, but that the council would accept public comment during the Citizen Speak Out portion of the council meeting when the item comes before the councilors.

The comments from the public hearing are being considered by the council's Ordinance and Policy subcommittee. The Animal Control Ordinance vote is slated for the Oct. 21 meeting of the Town Council.

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