Chickens, pygmy goats, pygmy pigs. West Hollywood is considering revisions to its animal ordinance that would authorize residents to own animals other than dogs and cats and change some existing requirements for them.
The proposed changes are prompted by changes in Los Angeles County’s Animal Ordinance (which will permit pygmy pigs). The City of West Hollywood contracts with the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control and is required to accept the county ordinance.
In a report that will go before the City Council on Monday, WeHo’s Department of Public Works recommends going a step farther, noting that some residents already keep pygmy goats even though they aren’t permitted in WeHo because they are considered livestock. “However, the reality of the situation is that pygmy goats, like pygmy pigs, have become a fashionable alternative to keeping dogs,” the report says. “There is little difference in the care required for a goat as compared with that of a dog. As such, staff recommends allowing the keeping of pygmy goats in the city provided that they are kept on leash and wear identifying tags at all times. The breeding of pygmy goats will remain prohibited in residential neighborhoods.”
The rationale for allowing chickens is an increased interest in urban farming. “Many people want to take a more active role in where their food comes from,” the report says. “As such, many people are turning to gardening, to grow some of their own fruits and vegetables, and to raising chickens to provide eggs.”
The City Council will be asked to authorize up to four chickens per residence in WeHo, so long as they don’t create noise or odor that bothers the neighbors. Roosters won’t be allowed.
Proposed changes that also would have an impact on dogs and cats are as follows:
– Ending the requirement for an administrative hearing if a dog owner agrees to conditions imposed by the Public Works Department in situations where someone has been attacked by a dog.
– Requiring that all dogs and cats over four months old be spayed or neutered unless the owner gets a special license to keep them as they are. That license would be available only to “competition” animals, service and law enforcement dogs or an animal that can’t be spayed or neutered for health reasons. Service animals do not include those that offer only emotional support.
– Requiring that all dogs and cats over four years old have microchips installed in their skin.
– Adding pygmy pigs and pygmy goats to the list of animals that must be on leash in public areas or in the common area of a private property such as an apartment building.
– Requiring anyone walking a dog, pygmy pig, or pygmy goat to have a waste wrapper available and plainly visible. People who are physically handicapped will not be required to clean up after pets.
– Adding birds to the list of animals that are not to be fed by leaving or dropping food on public property.
– Increasing the licensing fee for dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered from $20 to $60. “By raising the licensing fee for dogs, the city will demonstrate its commitment to keeping the population of animals in animal shelters to a minimum,” the report says.
– Increasing the licensing fee for spayed and neutered dogs from $10 to $15, which is below the average rate in Los Angeles County.
– Adopting L.A. County’s fee of $7.50 for a license for a spayed or neutered dog owned by a disabled military veteran, who now is subject to the regular $20 fee.
– Participating in L.A. County’s Spay/Neuter Trust Fund, which allows the county’s animal care and control department to offer low cost spay/neuter programs for the residents who cannot afford the cost of surgery.
– Not requiring businesses that solely perform “animal grooming” to obtain a county “animal facility” license. West Hollywood provides its own licensing for “animal groomers.”
The City Council will consider the proposed changes in the animal regulation at its meeting on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is available in the five-story structure behind the Council Chambers, with the ticket validated in the lobby.