By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
WOODLAKE – Last week, the Woodlake City Council took on three city ordinances, two of which was the number of animals residents can legally own. In all, the Council decided to reduce the number of animals residents can have to four, including dogs.
Woodlake ordinance 614 says that residents can only have four: chicken, ducks, geese, turkey, rabbits, pigeons or other fowls within 25 feet of another house. Essentially the ordinance restricts these animals to four in residential areas where homes are bunched together. Ordinance 615 restricts the number of dogs residents can have to four. These ordinances give the City greater jurisdiction over a problem that has been in Woodlake for years.
“During the day, sometimes, you just see chickens walking around downtown, so that’s a problem,” said Woodlake community services director Jason Waters.
The problem with feral dogs in Woodlake is also well known. Residents have brought the problem to the City Council before in the past citing situations where packs of dogs have killed domesticated cats and chased elderly residents. As a result the City went on to hire a part-time dog catcher who made a significant impact on the amount of dogs the City was able to catch. In a six month span the City was able to catch 99 dogs when they were only catching six per month before.
Since then public works has absorbed the bulk of those duties with police officers intervening while on patrol.
In all the ordinance says that, “It is unlawful for any person, intentionally or otherwise, with a limit not to exceed four dogs per residence, to permit any dog owned by, boarded, harbored or in his custody or control to go up on, run at large upon, or stray upon any public place within the city unless the dog is securely and continuously under the control of some reasonable person capable of controlling the dog by a leash or unless the dog is confined within a vehicle.”
Waters added that their four dog and bird limit mimics the rules set by other cities in the area, but namely Visalia and Exeter.