A number of city residents spoke up to protest that proposed amendment and one other as the council opened the floor for public comment early in the meeting.
Former City Councilman Arnold Medina led the charge, demanding to know what the proposed amendments were. He said no one had made an attempt to publish the changes.
City Manager Deborah Ballí read off the proposals, and when she got to the final recommendation on her list, that apparently was the one item that had attracted a number of protestors to the meeting.
For years, the city’s animal ordinance has allowed residents to keep four dogs and four cats for a combined total of eight pets. That stipulation has sometimes been criticized as allowing too many dogs and cats per household.
Animal Control Officer George Keilmann explained to the council that he had been asked by residents to reduce that number. He said many citizens believe that eight dogs and cats in one residence are too many.
Another recommended amendment caught the attention of City Councilman David Carabajal. He objected to a proposal to make what is now a $15 deposit for using a city-owned animal trap to a non-refundable fee.
Keilmann explained that he had recommended the reduction in the number of pets allowed because of the number of complaints he has received since becoming the animal control officer two years ago.
He said he had been called to one home where eight dogs were tied up to eight dog houses and that each of the eight houses had a water bowl and a food bowl, all in a single yard.
But Keilmann and City Attorney Frank Warner said that they would not force anyone who already has more than four animals to chose which ones to give up and which ones to keep.
Warner said Municipal Court usually only becomes involved in animal ordinance cases when the number of pets creates a nuisance situation in a neighborhood.
One speaker said that the care of animals depends on the owner of the residence where they are kept. In some cases, one dog can be a nuisance, but in other cases many more dogs are no problem at all.
One woman explained that she took in a cat which later had kittens, and now she has more than the allowed number of pets. But she has no desire to give up any of them.
She said all the cats had been spayed and neutered.
Another woman said she lives next door to someone who keeps seven dogs, and they are all well fed, well treated and a bother to no one.
When asked his opinion, Police Chief Joe Treviño said he normally hears no complaints concerning cats. But dogs can often be another matter.
After closing the public hearing, Carabajal made a motion to leave the trap deposit and number of animals allowed per household as they are now.
That was seconded by Councilwoman Libby Spires and the motion passed without opposition.