06/28/06 — Fremont limits number of pets permitted in homes

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Fremont limits number of pets permitted in homes

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on June 28, 2006 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont residents no longer will be allowed to have large numbers of dogs and cats in their home.

The Town Board of Aldermen on Tuesday night amended its animal control ordinance by reducing the number of pets to two dogs or two cats per household. The change was made on the recommendation of Town Attorney James Cauley.

The old ordinance said each owner could have two dogs or two cats. Some had interpreted the ordinance to say it allowed each person in a home to have two animals.

"I have four dogs and will move from Fremont before I give up any," said Wendy Bass.

The town board also discussed how to handle stray dogs.

Jerry Pate, the county's animal control officer, explained that authorities should ask if they know who owns the animal. If they don't know, then the animal could be contained.

If the owner is known, Police Chief Wayne Schwark said the town ordinance gives pet owners two strikes, verbal and then written warnings, before they are given citations. If convicted in District Court, the penalty is at least $110 in court costs, plus a possible fine.

Ms. Bass said she found out the hard way about the penalty when her dog got loose outside. She was fined $150.

"Now I have brick fence," she said.

In another effort to clean up the town, the Fremont board passed a minimum square-foot requirement for housing occupants. The first occupant must have 300 square feet of habitable living space, and each additional occupant must have 125 square feet.

The old ordinance required 150 square feet for the first occupant, 100 square feet or the next three and 75 feet for any other occupants.

The board discussed prohibiting anyone from living in a home without utilities. Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said the state code requires all homes to have water. If a home has no water, then the code enforcement officer should be notified.

McDuffie said Fremont will not sell water to a home without electricity. He said one meter cannot be turned on without turning on the other.

The board also is expected to let the Wayne County Inspections Department inspect properties.

In other business, the board approved a minor budget amendment for the 2006-07 budget.