Sep 27, 2012 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
The Fayetteville Village Board has amended a local law to limit the number of dogs, cats and rabbits residents can keep at their home to three of each.
Mayor Mark Olson said agreeing on a reasonable number of animals per household has been a difficult task for the board, which is why there was no number limit put on animals in the local animal law adopted by the board in January.
“We know people that have two dogs, two cats, two rabbits and a turtle, and you know what? You’d never know, and there are no issues,” Olson said. “But is that too many?”
The animal law prohibited residents from housing any animal, with the exception of dogs and cats, without first obtaining a license from the State of New York or the Town of Manlius and a written permit from the village board. It also banned keeping any animal that “by its continual barking, howling or whining or other frequent or long-continued noise or behavior, [causes] annoyance or discomfort to a reasonable person of normal sensitiveness.”
The idea to limit the number of animals allowed per household was proposed following a complaint about seven dogs living at one residence on Warren Street, said Village Code Enforcement Officer Richard Greene. A resident of the neighborhood told Greene that those dogs were outside and barking from 7 to 10 p.m.
“We’re now getting complaints about dogs and cats,” he said. “The most recent complaint of seven dogs … that’s bordering on a kennel.”
Former village trustee Mary Coleman warned against regulating the number of animals per home.
“One barking dog does it for me, seven is excessive,” she said, “but isn’t there anything under the noise ordinance, excessive noise, rather than trying to get into numbers?”
After some discussion by the board, Trustee Dan Kinsella moved that households be limited to three dogs, three cats and three rabbits. The motion was seconded by Trustee Dennis Duggleby and passed by the board. Olson said people who have more animals than the new limit allows will not be “grandfathered in.”
“But we will be dealing with it case by case,” he said. “We don’t want someone who’s doing a nice job and taking care of these animals, to say to them they have to get rid of them.”
Greene said the process of citing pet-owners and seizing animals can be started by himself, a police officer or the animal control officer. For animal control officer tasks, the village currently contracts with the Town of Manlius, which contracts with the Town of DeWitt.
Chickens in the village?
At Monday’s meeting, Code Enforcement Officer Greene said the village had two rooster complaints earlier in the year. That issue was resolved under the village’s noise ordinance.
Greene said upon his return to the South Street home of a resident he had cited for excessive noise, caused by a rooster crowing, he found that the rooster was back on the property.
“Not only did they have a rooster come back, they had at least seven ducks, seven or eight chickens and some other animals,” he said.
“This is not a farm community,” he added. “If someone wants to get into farming, this is not the place to do it. If you want to raise a couple chickens, a couple ducks, come to the board, that’s fine.”
Some people in attendance showed concern over any consideration to allow village residents to keep animals viewed traditionally as farm animals in their homes.
Alice Craw, of South Street, said she knew a woman who planned to petition the board to have chickens on her property, at which point Grant Jackson, of Beech Street, said: “I think I might petition the village to have chickens as well, at some point, just a few. Their eggs are so delicious.”
“No,” Craw responded, and joked: “Go get a farm.”
While the conversation was light in tone, Jackson, a horticulture professor at SUNY Morrisville, was not kidding around.
“There’s a lot of chicken farmers out there [in Morrisville] that I get eggs from, so I guess I’m biased,” he said. “But also I’ve seen it done in an urban situation.”
While roosters are clearly a nuisance in a residential area, hens are a different story, Jackson said.
“Hens are low impact, and if they’re kept in the right conditions, they can have minimal impact on your neighbors,” he said.