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Cattery permit plan declawed

October 12, 2000

Cattery permit plan declawed



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


Controversial cattery permit requirements have been removed from a proposed amendment to the county zoning ordinance, Washington County Attorney Richard Douglas said Wednesday.

Planning Director Robert Arch made the suggestion to remove the requirement that property owners with more than eight cats older than six months get cattery permits, Douglas said.

In response, Douglas said he and Permits and Inspections Director Paul Prodonovich rewrote the ordinance last week.

Arch made that suggestion because he felt the catteries should not be a zoning issue but should instead be part of the animal control ordinance, Douglas said.

Tthe county does not presently have the legal authority to license cats or catteries under the present animal control enabling law, he said.

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But a county list of possible requests of the local delegation to the Maryland General Assembly includes a request to broaden the reach of the animal control enabling law, with possible changes to grant the county the authority to license cats and catteries and impose criminal as well as civil penalties.

If approved, the county would be able to require cattery licenses, Douglas said. The commissioners are scheduled to discuss and possibly vote on the list at the Nov. 7 meeting. The present "wish list" has not yet been approved by the County Commissioners, he said.

Douglas said the cattery issue is no longer a local proposal but will instead be in the hands of the state delegation.

Arch and County Administrator Rodney Shoop were unavailable for comment Wednesday.

About 30 Washington County cat owners attended a Sept. 18 joint County Commissioners-Planning Commission public hearing to oppose the proposal.

The changes would have required the commissioners' approval.

The county will have a new joint public hearing on the revised proposal but the date of that meeting is undetermined, Douglas said.

Commissioners Paul L. Swartz and William J. Wivell have said they would oppose the county starting to regulate the number of cats people own.

While Wivell and Swartz opposed the cattery requirement, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook and John L. Schnebly had said they supported it, at least in concept.

Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger refused to take a position on the issue.

Snook and Iseminger said Wednesday they had not yet heard that the cattery proposal was being withdrawn and declined to comment until they heard more information.

Cattery permits, which would cost $25 under a required special exception, could be obtained only by those living in approved zoning areas.

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