Pet lovers fill City Hall to speak against limits

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Dog and cat lovers packed City Hall on Tuesday to urge Salt Lake City to lift the capital's pet limits, calling them arbitrary and unfair.

Some said their animals are their children. Others said the pets provide much-needed love.

“We need that love. We need that care,” said Darla Ball. “Let people keep their animals for that love.”

The city now limits residents to two dogs and two cats. The City Council is considering relaxing the numbers through special foster, rescue and fancier permits. The council didn't vote Tuesday, deferring action to some future time.

Residents told the council to drop the limits and instead enforce the existing nuisance code.

“If people have the capacity to responsibly care for these [extra] animals . . . there's no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to,” said Jaime Aalen, who said relaxing the limits will move the city toward being a “no kill” community.

Euthanasia is the leading cause of death for cats and dogs because of the lack of homes, said Holly Sizemore, with No More Homeless Pets.

Residents are already breaking the city's pet restrictions. Christopher Luck said he added a third dog to his home in order to rescue it. “I don't think responsible pet owners . . . should be punished for an act of compassion.”

Maureen Frikke explained the real-world effects of the limits: She has cancer and is trying to find a suitable home for her two dogs before she dies. She wants to choose the owners, but said the suitable ones already have dogs. She asked the council to allow her to choose a home where she knows they will be loved and cared for.

Catherine New spoke against lifting the limits, saying the current rules already allow 10,000 cats and 10,000 dogs in her Liberty Wells community and that more animals would harm wildlife and create a nuisance.