Dunnellon restricts number of cats and dogs per residence

A maximum of four cats and four dogs is a new restriction for residents of the River City.

Magnolia Media file photo.

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Posted March 15, 2024 | By Belea T. Keeney, belea@magnoliamediaco.com

The Dunnellon City Council unanimously passed an ordinance restricting the number of cats and dogs to no more than four of each in private homes within city limits at its regular meeting on March 13.

Magnolia Media file photo.

The ordinance reads, “No person may own or keep at their residence more than four dogs and more than four cats over six months of age within the city limits. The limitation set forth above shall not immediately apply to persons who at the time of passage of this section already possess more than four dogs or four cats, however, such persons must not acquire additional dogs or cats in excess of the limitations set forth above, so that the number of dogs or cats is reduced over time to conform to the prescribed limit as normal attrition occurs.”

Part of the ordinance acknowledges the distinction between animal rescue organizations as opposed to private ownership of pets.

The council approved the ordinance unanimously.

The staff report acknowledged the challenge of enforcing the new restriction.

“Enforcement of the number of animals owned is extremely difficult as animal control does not knock on doors or conduct surveys and enforcement would be compliant driven,” the report stated.

The city does not have an animal control officer and contracts services through Marion County.

One speaker during the public comments portion of the meeting opposed the ordinance, saying it was, “arbitrary and unnecessary. You should not amend your code based on a dispute between neighbors. Problems … can be addressed through” other means like cruelty and abuse laws.


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