Ohio town considers limit on number of pets in home

HILLSBORO, OH (FOX19) - An Ohio community is considering a proposal that would limit how many pets people are allowed to own.

A public hearing was held in Hillsboro Monday night to talk about the revamped 99-page city zoning code that was put together by the Hillsboro Planning Commission.

Members of the community and city council members were part of the hearing.

Following a presentation about the overall zoning code, people in the crowd had the chance to vocalize concerns about proposed changes.

Most people who spoke, including pet owners, local vets and animal rescuers, said they were there to take a stand against a part of the proposed code that would prohibit people from owning more than four pets, including cats, dogs, rabbits and chickens.

"I thought it couldn't be true. I mean it sounds sort of ridiculous frankly," Amy Sharp Schneider, who works at a vet in Hillsboro and lives in Hillsboro, said.

Officials have indicated that people who already own more animals than the limit allows would be grandfathered in.

Opponents like Schneider said though that she believes the rule would be hard to enforce and could even stop people from moving here.

"They're their family members. They're their loves," Schneider said. "There are a lot people that foster and take care of litters until they find new homes."

Others worry the rule could lead to people dumping animals in the county and argued that city leaders should only target those responsible for cruelty or neglect.

"I just don't feel that this is right to do to this to those of us that have multiple pets because of some people that can't take care of their animals," one resident said at the hearing.

No one at the meeting or on social media has openly said they support the idea.

"The number of animals makes no difference. It's the love and the care and the respect that you give the animals,"  an animal rescuer said at the hearing.

The idea came about as a way for the city to take action when it comes to pets that are a problem.

"Addressing individuals on an individual basis is the most important thing because by and large, the people in our community are taking good care of their animals," Schneider said.

It's early in the process, so council members are considering the concerns and could make changes before approving the code.

Zoning commission officials said at the hearing that if the pet limit is approved, they plan to add an exemption for the 4H Club. The program gives children and teenagers a chance to care for multiple animals at once.

City leaders did not openly vocalize their stance on the pet limit at the hearing, but Schneider said she has been told several of them already know they want to remove the rule from the code.

You can read the draft of the zoning code on the city's website.

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