Recently Anchorage Animal Care and Control came to my house and performed one of their regular facility license inspections...and I passed...smile. Obviously, having several dogs in rescue, I would be required to have a facility license under the Municipality's Title 17. There is great confusion regarding this law (Title 17) and the general public who have animals in their home.
Title 17. Animals; General Provisions 17.05.010 (Multi-Animal Facility) allows for six furry animals in your home without requiring a facility license. But if you read further there are specific requirements regarding that number "six". You are allowed only three of the same species...such as, three cats and three dogs or three ferrets and three dogs, etc. It does not allow for you to have six cats or four dogs with two cats (etc.); no more than three of the same species.
Throughout the years, we have bumped in to many individuals who are very confused by this law. In my situation, many potential adopters already have three dogs and want to adopt a fourth dog. At this point, I have to inform these potential adopters that they will be in violation of the Municipality's Title 17...they would have to apply for a facility license because they would now have more than three dogs. Many are not even aware such a law even exists and do not understand the requirement. It is very confusing and not generally common knowledge throughout the general public of animal "parents".
In the past, I have made the mistake of placing dog number "four" with a family but they did not apply for a facility license as promised. Animal Control discovered there were more than three dogs in the home by the number of Rabies tags assigned to the owners and they were notified of their violation. (Remember: Each time your pet gets a Rabies shot, the vet clinics are required to notify Animal Control and provide a Rabies tag number.) Rather than apply for the facility license, the adopters returned the dog to me. Because this is just one more unnecessary transition for the dog, I have made it a policy that the new adopter must abide by the Title 17 requirements...and sadly, I do not place dog number "four" in their home. Most generally, these are wonderful parents to their dogs and I would be estatic to place one of my dogs in such a great home...but I too have to adhere to the Municipality requirements. The same requirements are for cats...more than three and a kennel license is required.
To be honest, applying for a facility license is not difficult. You submit an application, plat drawing (which is sent to Zoning for approval) and pay $100.00 (for two years) for ten or less pets. If Zoning approves, then an Animal Control Officer comes to inspect your home and asks questions such as "where do you store your food", "what type of cleaners do you use", "how many pets live with you" (and Rabies certificates are required), etc. (lots of questions). The Animal Control Officers are very professional and courteous...as long as you take good care of the animals in your home and clean up after them, the Officers are happy...that is what matters most to them.
If you want more information regarding Title 17 requirements...go to http://www.muni.org/iceimages/healthmsd/CodifiedTitle172004.pdf or click HERE
It is always good to familiarize yourself with the laws governing animal issues...that way you don't accidently make a mistake or you can provide assistance to an animal in need.
Although it is a bit confusing, please remember that these laws were developed to protect our animal friends. There are some areas that definitely need to be changed...maybe four dogs would be an acceptable number instead of three, but any efforts to protect our animal friends is much better than no effort at all. Get involved if you find need to change something. Our biggest issue is that many of these laws are not fully enforced because the APD is too busy with "human" issues (our crime rates have exploded which keeps their schedule full) and animal issues can't be their priority. Animal Control does not have the authority to take action on their own...a change the Minicipality ought to review in my opinion. Animal issues need to be addressed quickly. The Municipality laws really limit Animal Control Officers in their ability to deal with these issues...that task is assigned to APD only. Because of this fact, many animals do not get the assistance they need in a timely manner.
Hopefully, this little piece of information will enlighten you...and you can share the information with others.
Have a great day!!! Enjoy your pets and the rest of this summer...Carol