The city of Vancouver is once again considering limits on the number of dogs, cats, hens or rabbits a resident can keep on their property.
The threshold is not quite a dozen animals, but a combined limit of 10 animals per household. That doesn’t mean 10 dogs or 10 chickens are allowed, though. Each has its own individual limits as outlined in a proposed code change the Vancouver Planning Commission unanimously approved Tuesday.
The number of mature dogs will remain at three, said Bryan Snodgrass, principal planner in the city’s Community and Economic Development Department. Mature is defined in the code as older than 6 months old.
“The number had been set at three in the city code for some time without a great deal of incident,” Snodgrass said.
The new limits would allow up to five mature cats, hens or rabbits, so long as the total number of animals doesn’t exceed 10. Mature here means 6 months for cats, and 3 months old for hens and rabbits.
Property owners with larger pieces of property could apply for a permit to keep an additional hen or rabbit for each additional 10,000 square feet of property.
Those fostering dogs in excess of the baseline number can also apply for a special permit.
These permits could cost $100 with an annual inspection fee of $100.
“The $100 fee would certainly represent one of the lowest fees the city has for anything,” he added.
Any residence that already has pets in excess of the potential new limits will be required to provide evidence — veterinary records, photographs, permits, etc., — that the pets were on-site before Jan. 1.
“It’s been a long and rather involved process and I appreciate all the time, effort and energy that staff has invested,” said commission Chair Erik Paulsen. “I also appreciate the changes that have been made since our workshop. I’m a lot more comfortable with this having that cap in place for 10 animals. That’s a problem issue for me previously.”
The proposed changes will now go to the city council for consideration. A workshop is tentatively scheduled for April 16 and a public hearing and vote on May 21.