Making Sense of Nonsense

BACKTALK--The CityWatch article “Pet Dogs: LA Becomes a No-Limit City” (February 5, 2018) misrepresents the simple intent of my City Council motion (seconded by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield) on pet limits and distorts that intent beyond recognition. 

It’s interesting – though helpful to readers – that the article’s author bothers to include a link to the actual motion so people can see what it actually proposes instead of what she says it says (or means). A careful reading reveals a different story than that presented in the article, and the status of what is proposed is somewhat obscured by the article’s misleading verbiage and scattershot opinions. 

First, let’s begin with the article’s headline. The recent City Council approval of the motion has NOT made LA a “no-limit city.” It simply authorized further work on two proposed ordinances that would separate household pet limits from the City’s Zoning Code and move them into the animal welfare section of the Municipal Code where they belong. 

Neither ordinance has yet been written and neither will be written and/or approved without at least several public hearings and the sanction of two separate City commissions, two separate City Council committees, the full City Council and ultimately the Mayor. In the meantime, nothing has changed. 

Second, the chances that this will lead to the total removal of limits are essentially non-existent. The public discussion and approval process noted above should ensure that. I certainly don’t plan on supporting the removal of limits. And the court injunction against the City with regard to feral cat Trap-Neuter-Return programs which requires the City to do an EIR to study the impacts both of TNR and increasing the household cat limit locks that limit in at three until further notice (the limit on dogs is three as well.) I have proposed to raise the cat limit to five, but that can’t happen unless and until the EIR is signed off by the court, which likely couldn’t happen until sometime in 2019 at the earliest. 

Third, the author clearly is a critic of the Board of Animal Services Commissioners, which certainly is anyone’s right, but that body remains the appropriate one to engage in a dialogue with the public on household dog limits. I encourage them to do so at multiple meetings and in locations around the city before they make recommendations to the City Council regarding the ordinance that would establish the household limits in the animal welfare section of the Code. I feel they should focus on dogs because, as noted earlier, the cat limit is locked in at three for the time being. 

Finally, it’s clearly stated in the motion that neither of the proposed ordinances should be presented to the City Council until BOTH are ready for approval. This is meant to ensure that there is no discontinuity of regulation when the limits are removed from the Zoning Code. Thus, there will be no “no-limit” city. 

The City has reviewed how household pet limits are regulated in more than 30 LA County jurisdictions and the City of LA is one of only a couple which use how kennels are defined in the Zoning Code to determine household pet limits. All the rest simply set pet limits in their municipal codes, which makes the most sense. My proposal is to bring Los Angeles in line with that approach. I hope CityWatch can turn down the distracting noise on this issue and focus on the real matter at hand as it moves forward.


(Paul Koretz is LA City Councilmember for the 5th District. He is Chair of the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee (PAW).) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.