by Dennis Dalman
Should Sartell residents be allowed to have two dogs, three dogs or more?
The Sartell City Council wants residents’ opinions on that question because the city will hold a public hearing on updating the city’s animal ordinance at its meeting set for 7 p.m. Monday, April 27.
The council last discussed this issue and other animal-issues at a meeting held July 14, 2014. At that time, council members agreed to consider an updated animal ordinance drawn up by city staff, including input from the police department. That updated ordinance will be presented for council consideration at the April 27 public hearing.
At the July 14 meeting, the following are brief summaries as compiled by Sartell City Administrator Mary Degiovanni:
Council member Sarah Jane Nicoll (before she was elected mayor): She suggested a more relaxed ordinance to allow for more than two dogs and the decision to grant a kennel license to be left up to city staff.
Council member Steve Hennes: He said he prefers to limit the number of allowable dogs to just two.
Council member David Peterson: He said that allowing three dogs per household, especially if they are large dogs, is probably too many.
Council member Amy Braig-Lindstrom: She said she is fine with the two-dog limit. However, if more than two dogs are allowed, the city should charge extra.
Then-Mayor Joe Perske: He said he has no problem with the then-current policy.
Sartell’s animal ordinance was last updated in 2002. The new one will adopt an entirely new chapter covering all animals within the city.
The following are animal-ordinance provisions that will be discussed at the April 27 public hearing:
- The ordinance language calls for no more than three dogs per household, but that is subject to change, depending on what the council decides after hearing input from residents at the public hearing. Currently, people wanting three dogs must come before the council to explain a reason. Currently, there are seven active special permits issued by the city for residents with more than two dogs, and none of them are for more than three dogs. One council option is for the city to allow three dogs with no special requirements.
- Current ordinance language is confusing on the subject of cats. The council has tended to favor not requiring licenses for cats because it does not want to try to enforce prohibition of cats running at large. The city has issued 77 cat licenses compared to more than 1,000 dog licenses.
- Other parts of the animal ordinance will cover the procedures in place for dealing with dangerous dogs, a section providing for dog parks, and the question of dog-license fees and how much they will cost.