Newton residents bark for changes to dog laws

NEWTON, Kansas – The limit on how many dogs a family can own in this Harvey County city may finally be going up, which would make it comparable to other communities in the area.

At an open house meeting Wednesday night, dozens of residents voiced support for easing the city’s two-dog limit on households.

Residents like Jason Reid and others spoke in favor of increasing the limit, saying some residents have either moved away because of it, or have at least considered a move.

“If it would have come down to selling my properties and move, I would have done it, just like anyone would do for their child if their child was not allowed inside a town, they would pack up and move and sell their properties off,” Reid told KSN.

The city had approved the limit back in 2000 because it was worried about pet overpopulation. But it started looking into the matter recently when a resident was worried she would have to part ways with two of her dogs after learning about the rule and asked city commissioners about what she could do.

“I told her to have her brother adopt two of the dogs, and there is no law against extended vacations, and so she got to keep her four dogs, and that’s what started this,” Glen Davis, one of Newton’s city commissioners, said.

Residents hope an increase would help lower the pet population at local animal shelters, and would allow responsible pet parents to care for more dogs.

“Increasing the number of dogs would bring us in line with surrounding communities and make us a viable place to consider living,” Kevin Stubbs, director of the Caring Hands Humane Society in Newton, said.

Compared to other cities, Wichita and Andover allow four dogs with breed restrictions, Derby allows four with no breed restrictions, and McPherson allows three dogs. Other cities like Bel Aire, Hutchinson, and El Dorado put a limit on the number of pets.

The public input will be considered in a proposed revision to the ordinance that could be approved later this month, Davis said.

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