Last Update: 7/7/2009 12:22:00 AM
Proposal limiting pets in Reading advances
By Don Spatz
A City Council committee on Monday agreed to a proposal that would limit city residents to no more than six pets - not counting fish - unless they apply for a $50 city permit.
To get that permit, the residents would have to let the city inspect their homes to see if they're appropriate for housing more than six animals.
"It's so we don't have six Great Danes in a town house," Barrie Pease told council's Public Safety Committee.
Pease is chairman of the city Animal Control Board that's recommending the change.
The permits would have to be renewed annually. Renewals would cost $25.
The proposal also calls for a $75 fee for a permit for exotic animals like large snakes or other non-native animals.
The Animal Rescue League of Berks County enforces the city animal ordinances. A few weeks ago it took 22 dogs from a home on South 181/2 Street, leaving four dogs there, Executive Director Harry D. Brown III told the committee.
The pet permit proposal is taken from similar measures in Allentown, Harrisburg, Lancaster and Bethlehem.
Wyomissing, Sinking Spring and Shillington have similar limits on the number of pets.
The committee agreed to make some changes and forward the proposal to the entire council.
If the proposal passes, residents would have three months to comply, but Pease said residents with more than six pets would not necessarily have to get rid of any.
If they apply for a permit, they can have more than six pets - if the city believes they can handle them, Pease said.
But the proposal will be rewritten to allow the city to confiscate pets if it determines that someone temporarily relocated pets to skirt the ordinance rather than bring them back.
The proposal also would give police authority to seek a search warrant to enter a home to investigate.
The same proposal also would place tight restrictions on any dog that bites or attacks anyone without provocation, or has a history of it.
The city's former dangerous dog ordinance focused on breeds deemed dangerous, but Commonwealth Court last year threw it out.
Contact Don Spatz: 610-371-5027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.