Meridian Dog Ordinance Causes Controversy

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Meridian, Miss. A new Meridian ordinance limiting the number of dogs in a household is bringing complaints from residents and rescue organizations.

"To have 10 or 20 dogs in one tight spot in a fence without the ability to really move around is really not good for the animal, the owner, or the neighbors."

Ward Four Councilwoman Kim Houston says the idea for the new dog ordinance came from complaints from residents saying their neighbors had a large number of canines that aren't being taken care of, but with the imposed limit of three per household, Ashley Owen Hill with Lucky Dog Rescue says that also hurts family pets.

"For a lot of people, dogs are their children, and this is basically asking them to get rid of some of their children, pick and choose between which children they can keep, and without any warning or real reason."

The city will not be going door to door checking, and Houston says the ordinance was passed mostly for cases that jeopardize animal safety.

"As we receive calls about dogs barking, for example if there's a guy with 20 dogs in a cage that he's not taking care of, those are the people that we're going to actively go and try to see if we can make some type of resolve."

Hill believes that the solution to large numbers of dogs at both houses and shelters is spaying and neutering.

"That cuts down on the overpopulation. That cuts down on the issues with overcrowding as well, so I think that's where the focus should be instead of on limiting the number of pets people can have."

Houston may propose a permit system that will allow families with well taken care of dogs to keep more than three.