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Waynesboro pet ordinance: what’s in and what’s out

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:07 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - Waynesboro city officials are easing restrictions in a proposed pet ordinance.

Pet owners in Waynesboro made their distaste for a drafted ordinance known when it was on the agenda at the August 23 meeting.

The proposed ordinance said pet owners would be limited to four dogs and five cats, not to exceed seven pets total. Additionally, the plan would prohibit roosters and free-roaming chickens. Houses would also be limited to 10 chickens, with no grandfathering clause included.

Waynesboro City Mayor Bobby Henderson says they are now tabling the ordinance and taking time for research and reconsideration, but he said some parts will stay.

“We don’t want any tethering of animals. If you want a pet, you can have them indoors, fence in your yard. Do what you need to do to be a responsible pet owner, but don’t tie them to a tree and leave them,” said Henderson.

Amy Hammer, President of Augusta Dog Adoptions, was one of the people protesting the ordinance.

“We first thought of all the good pet owners that have maybe an amount of pets that’s a little more than what some people think is normal but take wonderful care of their pets,” Hammer said. “We certainly didn’t want anything to affect that or be punitive towards good pet owners.”

While she didn’t support the pet limits in the ordinance, she says there were parts she liked.

“I was impressed by the fact that they also wanted to put a tethering ordinance,” Hammer said.

In the initial draft, the ordinance stated roosters are banned, and community members would have 90 days to get rid of them. Henderson says they’re working on a grandfather clause.

“We’re not going to ask you to dispose of your rooster immediately. We’ll let the rooster live out its life, and then you just don’t replace the rooster,” Henderson said.

They’re also working on researching how many chickens is appropriate for a plot of land in the city. The ordinance first stated ten chickens would be allowed, but many people had a problem with that.

Henderson says too many chickens can cause problems in a suburban setting.

“They move into a city to live in a city, not live on a farm,” Henderson said.

At Monday’s meeting, Henderson says they’d have a new ordinance ready on Sept. 27, but he’s taken the deadline off the staff.

“We’re not going to rush it because the worst thing to do is to try and rush an animal ordinance and get it all wrong again,” Henderson said.

City Council agendas are made public on the city’s website once they’re available.

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