Pet Ownership Changes Possibly on Way in Daviess County

Daviess County officials propose pet ownership changes, but some say they aren't needed.
Most people keep cats and dogs as pets, and a few even have a pet horse or pig. But that could change soon as Daviess County officials discuss changes to the animal control ordinances.

The proposed changes include prohibiting farm animals to be kept as pets in subdivisions, and tighter restrictions on animal rescuers. But some say it's not needed, and the current law works just fine.

You can have a pet dog, a pet cat, even a pet horse for now.

"You have the right to have a pet," says Daviess Co. Judge Executive Al Mattingly.

But it could change for much of Daviess County. The proposed amendments would block people from owning livestock, like horses or pigs, as pets in residential areas, like subdivisions. Mattingly says it came from recent concerns over the problems those four legged creatures create for neighbors.

"We have to understand, when you live in an urban or suburban setting, where there's a large number of people concentrated in a small area, you can't have farm animals running back and forth," he says.

If approved, the ordinance would also require animal rescuers to be licensed, but limit the number of cats and dogs animal rescuers can keep.

"You run into the same problems where rescues in a very small lot, half acre lot, come in and will house ten dogs or ten or 12 cats, and those dogs continually bark," he says.

"Is it just something that would penalize everybody?" says Carmel McLeod of the Owensboro Humane Society.

She thinks it could. McLeod says the amendments aren't needed.

"I think our ordinance now is something that can be applied more strictly or heavily.," she says. "It does take care of all the issues that these people are having with these barnyard animals."

She agrees with the licensing requirement, but still worries over what could happen to rescuers if the law's bite is worse than it's bark.

"I would hate to penalize people that are doing a good community service over a handful of people that are taking advantage of it," McLeod says.

These proposed changes are scheduled to be discussed at a public hearing Tuesday evening at Daviess County Fiscal Court.
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