MANSFIELD — A heated and emotional borough council meeting was held here as several community members showed up to speak against a proposed amendment to an ordinance that would limit the number of cats and dogs allowed to be kept in the borough.
The proposed amended ordinance, which has now been tabled, stated it would be unlawful for any person to own, keep, care for, have custody of or knowingly permit at any time more than four dogs and/or six cats older than six months to be on any property within the borough. The ordinance would have excluded properly licensed animal shelters, animal hospitals and clinics, grooming parlors, animal training schools and boarding kennels.
During public comment, Elizabeth Miranda, of Mansfield, delivered a passionate plea to the council to reconsider the ordinance, stating it didn’t have the best interest of the community in mind. She said it would undo all the good the trap, neuter and release program has done and there would be more strays on the streets. She suggested the council, rather than go after those who are good people and striving to help the animals, focus on prohibiting college students from having pets, or on more serious issues, such as drugs and hunger in the community.
Others spoke against the ordinance during public comment portion of the Jan. 6 meeting. Nina Giles said she has several cats who have been part of her family for nine years and she would not be giving them up because of the ordinance. Sharon Davies suggested the borough organize a fundraiser to help offset some of the costs of the TNR program. Patrick Riddingtol said the ordinance would be similar to someone taking away a child, as these animals are more than just that, they are family members.
Council member Adrianne McEvoy said the ordinance was not designed to attack those who properly take care of their animals, but would allow the borough to address those who do not. Council President Bob Strohecker said they were trying to solve a problem, not create one.
The council moved to table the proposed amended ordinance and create a committee of community members and council members to make recommendations on a better way to address the issue.
The next borough council meeting will be 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12.