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Dogs & cats among first issue for new council

An effort to address irresponsible dog and cat owners by regulating the number of pets per household as well as requiring prompt retrieval of their animal’s unwanted poop on public sidewalks, city parks, and private property that doesn’t belong to them will be decided by the new Manteca City Council.

The current council — two weeks after approving the first reading of an ordinance change to limit households to a maximum of three dogs and three cats as well as require owners to promptly collect poop pets deposit outside of their property or elsewhere they may have permission to go to the bathroom — rejected the changes on a 4-1 vote for the second reading Tuesday night. Councilman Richard Silverman was the only council member still favoring the proposed rules. Proposed ordinances do not become law until they have successfully passed two readings at two different council meetings.

The council directed the staff to bring the matter back to the Dec. 18 meeting when Ben Cantu will have replaced Steve DeBrum as mayor and Dave Breitenbucher and Jose Nuno will have taken over seats currently held by Mike Morowit and Silverman.

Some of the stumbling points:

*Morowit wasn’t sold on the limit of three dogs and three cats. He believes it should be more flexible allowing a household to have any combination of dogs and cats such as six cats and no dogs, four cats and two dogs, or six dogs and no cats.

*Resident Wendy Benavides noted as the ordinance is written those who provide “foster mom cats” for feral kittens that the non-profit organization Happy Pet Owners captures and have fixed before either being re-released or adopted would be in violation of city law.

*It may create an expectation that the city — by complaints being made — would be interjected into neighborhood complaints about cats popping and urinating in other yards.

*DeBrum said the bulk of the calls he got from residents centered around the view the city should worry about a bigger problem than poop pet, namely the issue of the homeless and others defecating and urinating in public places.

*The entire idea of even capping the number of dogs and cats at six regardless of the combination was viewed by some as government overreach.

When asked why the staff was advancing the ordinance changes, Manteca Police Captain Charlie Goeken noted it was a “quality of life issue” involving neighbors having to deal with irresponsible pet owners as opposed to those that pick up their dog’s poop, keep their pets in their yards and/or house, and make sure their dogs are constantly barking.

Silverman said he understood the point noting over the years he has lived next to responsible pet owners whose dogs and cats weren’t a nuisance and next to those that did not control their animals’ behavior so as not to be detrimental to neighbors.

Goeken, in response to a query, said the city wouldn’t be actively seeking out those in violation of the proposed pet limit. They would, however, respond to complaints.

In such incidents if the owner had more than the three dogs and three cats and they were all licensed through the city before new rules are adopted, they’d be allowed to keep them. However when pets that exceed whatever cap the city may impose die off they cannot be replaced.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email