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Manteca may restrict your household to three dogs & three cats
Issue before council Tuesday

There may be a fight over dogs and cats for Manteca’s newly installed City Council.

Staff is bringing back a proposal to limit households to a maximum of three dogs and three cats at Tuesday’s City Council meeting after the same ordinance changes were rejected on a 4-1 vote by the departing council. Carryover council members Gary Singh and Debby Moorhead voted against the measure.

Several speakers at the previous meeting spoke against the move to limit the number of animals households could have and — if the limit was six traditional four-legged pets — why the limit had to be restricted to three dogs and three cats instead of allowing under the cap combinations such as one dog and five cats or no dogs and six cats.

Police Chief Jodie Estarziau clarified a concern expressed by speakers earlier this month whether those households that currently exceed the proposed three dogs and three cats limit would be grandfathered in should the ordinance change be adopted by the council.

The police chief indicated any dogs beyond the three allowed at the time the ordinance goes into effect would be exempt as long as they are currently licensed with the city. As for cats, any other three that currently reside in a household will be allowed until such time they die.

Should the council adopt the proposed language on Tuesday regarding limiting dogs the new restrictions would go into effect by mid-January. That means any additional dogs licensed in a household until then or cats added would be grandfathered in.

Estarziau noted setting a limit on the number of dogs and cats allowed will bring Manteca in alignment with every other incorporated city in San Joaquin County.  The following is the amount of dogs and cats allowed by other cities in the county:

*Escalon: No more than four animals total, either dogs or cats.

*Lathrop: Three dogs and three cats.

*Lodi: No more than five animals total, either dogs or cats.

*Ripon: No more than three animals total, either dogs or cats.

*Stockton: Three dogs and three cats.

*Tracy: Two dogs and three cats.

The city previously had a three dog and three cat limitations in place but it was inadvertently changed during an update of the municipal code in 2011.

“The City of Manteca has an important interest in setting and enforcing certain standards within the community in order to improve community aesthetics, property values, and the general welfare and quality of life of its citizens,” Estarziau indicated in a memo to the City Council.

She added individuals who wish to have more than the three dogs can apply for a kennel permit, which is done through the city. Under certain circumstances a kennel permit allows a person to keep and maintain more than three dogs.    

The ordinance also, if adopted, will make it unlawful for any owner or person controlling an animal to refuse to promptly remove their pet’s excrement that it drops on sidewalks, streets, parks, play areas, or other private property. It also extends to all private property that they have not asked for and received permission to allow their pets to take a dump.

Don’t expect the city to roll out patrols to monitor pet pooping should the council adopt the ordinance.

In November when the ordinance first came up when asked by the council during the first reading of the ordinance how it would be enforced, Estarziau noted it realistically would likely be used only during other pet behavior enforcement such as allowing dogs to run off leash in city parks or in public areas such as sidewalks and streets.

It is even more unlikely that the city will have poop patrols observing how cat and dog owners allow their animals to use private property that does not belong to them.

Citizens could sign complaints and can provide evidence that a pet owner has allowed a dog or cat that belongs to them to poop and then failed to promptly remove the excrement. Successful prosecution, however, would require testifying against the pet owner.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email