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West Mifflin considering putting limit on pets per household

West Mifflin Borough considering putting limit on pets per household
West Mifflin Borough considering putting limit on pets per household 02:38

WEST MIFFLIN BOROUGH, PA. (KDKA) — West Mifflin Borough is considering putting a limit on how many pets a resident can own.

The borough said they're considering a new ordinance, limiting the amount of pets residents can have to five.

The borough manager said the idea came after there was a vicious dog attack in West Mifflin about 11 months ago.

"There are some nuisance animals. So, what they're (borough council) trying to do is put an ordinance together to eliminate nuisance animals," said Brian Kamauf, West Mifflin borough manager.

The proposed ordinance states, "It shall be lawful for any person/owner to keep pets, but no more than three dogs and no more than five cats and/or dogs combined in total over the age of six months in a structure, living unit or unimproved land. For example, a person/owner may lawfully have three dogs and two cats, or two dogs and three cats or five cats; but may never have more than 3 dogs."

"There should be nobody able to come in and tell me that my children can't have a hamster and their dogs or cats. It just… it doesn't make any sense," Kristina Miller said, a pet owner who lives in West Mifflin.

The ordinance includes, but isn't limited to dogs, cats, hamsters and guinea pigs.

Miller said she has three dogs, three cats, two hamsters, a leopard gecko, a tarantula and six chickens.

She said she's never had a problem or a complaint filed against them and doesn't believe good pet owners should be punished.

"It's devastating. How do you pick who you could keep and, and who to get rid of? How do you tell your kids that they have to choose animals they rescued that they have to get rid of one?" Miller said.

KDKA asked the borough what happens if the ordinance passes and someone has four well-behaved dogs.

"We don't want to make people get rid of their dogs. It's… we're trying to find a way to eliminate the nuisance animals is what we're trying to accomplish," Kamauf said. 

"It's not to get rid of your household pets. It's not to put restrictions on good residents. The intention is to try to make the community safer and get rid of the nuisance problems, and make sure we don't have vicious dogs out attacking the residents or children."

According to the proposed ordinance, if it passes, pet owners will have 60 days to come into compliance.

"Shelters are already at the limit. That's a death sentence for an animal. There is not enough people out there as it is to adopt. The problem is irresponsible pet owners, not pet owners that spay and neuter, or keep up on their vaccines," Miller said. 

"Let's also talk about somebody having to choose which pets to keep. That's a mental health issue. That is a whole other thing. You are going to negatively affect people's mental health having to choose who to keep. It's awful."

Kamauf said the borough council has spent months working on and tweaking the ordinance. He said it's been on the agenda twice and has been tabled both times.

Currently, as the proposal stands, there is also no grandfather clause.

"It's not to tell you how to live your life or what you do in your house. It's really a safety measure that we're trying to make, you know, we're trying to eliminate, you know, children or other individuals being bitten by dogs, or having next to a neighbor that doesn't take care of their pets. That's the intention of it," Kamauf said.

The borough is holding a meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. where the proposal will be on the agenda to potentially vote on. Kamauf said they will be hearing public comment.

In addition, the borough is also considering a proposal that will affect chicken owners.

According to that ordinance draft, only four chickens will be allowed per household and roosters would be unlawful to have.
A permit would also be required for those who own chickens.

Miller said she's owned chickens for 10 years at her home in the borough.

"We've never had an issue. No one has ever gotten out of the yard. I've never had a complaint. We don't have a rooster, they are quiet. Two of them are older. if I have to rehome, that is also a death sentence for them. Nobody wants older chickens who don't produce eggs, but they are our pets and we made a commitment when we bought them that they are here for their life. How do I choose that, too?" Miller said.

If that ordinance passes, paperwork states anyone who is found with more than four could pay a fine up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days.

"Every day that a violation of this ordinance continues shall constitute a separate offense," the drafted ordinance reads.

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