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Proposal to cancel kennel licenses stirs debate in Idaho Falls

By Luke Jones
Published On: Feb 27 2014 07:34:48 PM CST

Proposed changes to Idaho Falls' animal ordinance have some worried. Luke Jones reports.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Proposed changes to Idaho Falls' animal ordinance have some worried.

The proposal would limit the number of dogs residents can keep in a single home to three, and would do away with kennel licenses. These licenses currently permit up to five dogs in a single home.

For the past nine years, Gail Birdsong has run her Siberian husky rescue group out of her Idaho Falls garage. Birdsong has five huskies -- the maximum number allowed with her kennel license.

But if kennel licenses are done away with, Birdsong said she worries about the effect it will have on her shelter.

"We could never get new fosters or new rescues. It also is gonna mean that I can't find fosters in the area to foster my dogs because they too will be limited,” said Birdsong.

Idaho Falls Police Capt. Royce Clements, who works with the city's animal shelter, said there are good reasons for the limit.

“Complaints from neighbors of barking dogs, dogs not being well-taken care of, dogs running at-large, and we would get calls for people having too many dogs,” Royce said.

But Birdsong said she takes care of her dogs and keeps them on her property.

"I just don't understand why they're doing this, you know. We've run a really good rescue for so many years and never had a complaint,” Birdsong said.

Under the proposal, the city's 46 current kennel-license holders would be grandfathered in for the lifespan of any dog that exceeds the proposed limit of three.

"They get to keep the amount of dogs that they have until those dogs, until they reduce back to three through natural causes,” said Royce.

Birdsong said this wouldn't improve her situation.

"That just means we can never, ever -- after these guys are gone -- we can never get new fosters or new rescues,” she said.

The proposal passed on its first reading in February, but according to Idaho Falls City Clerk Rosemarie Anderson, needs to pass at least one more reading before it can become law.

City Council is expected to take up the issue at Wednesday night's meeting.

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