LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An Los Angeles City Council committee was set Tuesday to take up a plan that would change a law limiting the number of cats Angelenos can keep as pets.
Under the city's current code, only residents who have a kennel permit are currently permitted to have more than three cats.
But some members of the City Council's Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee and local animal control officials want to allow residents to keep up to five cats without paying licensing fees and possibly even more if they do obtain a license.
The motion (PDF), which was first introduced by Councilman Paul Koretz in November 2013, cites an ordinance that limits the number of cats a person may own as a key barrier to preventing cat adoptions and reducing the number of stray cats citywide.
City officials say removing the cat ownership limit could facilitate more adoption of cats from shelters, and based on experiences in San Diego and Santa Monica, where there are no caps on cat ownership, hoarding would likely not become a problem.
However, those cats would be required to be spayed or neutered.
In 2013, Koretz described the measure as primarily aimed at slashing the euthanasia rate among stray cats and getting more cats adopted out of city shelters.
"Certainly the most likely people to adopt are the folks that already have cats in their homes," Koretz said. "Setting up a system for folks that want to have more than five cats in their homes and do it in a sanitary way, we will save lives of more cats and do it in a way that is harmless to everybody else."
While it was unclear exactly how the city would enforce the measure, Koretz said it would likely start with complaints from neighbors.
"Unless somebody complains, we're not likely to spot people with more than three cats anyway," he said. "It's not that enforceable, so this way it sort of legalizes most people's activities already."
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)
for more features.