Animal ordinance sparks debate in Allouez
By Lauren Waters
ALLOUEZ – Whether or not to update certain animal control ordinances was the hot topic Tuesday, June 18, at the Allouez village board meeting.
Allouez Animal Control/Humane Officer, Monica Hoff, proposed to make changes pertaining to animals suspected of biting people, the keeping of animals, dangerous dogs and other issues.
Regarding the section involving animals suspected of biting people, Hoff proposed to shorten the 14-day observational quarantine time to 10 days, which would keep with state law.
Hoff also proposed to amend the portion regarding the keeping of animals and the limit on the number of animals.
Currently, the ordinance states no person should have more than two cats and two dogs in their possession on a residential lot, with the exception of a litter of puppies or kittens.
Hoff believes the number of cats allowed in a residence should be raised to no more than six, as long as the cats are spayed or neutered.
“For me, with cats, it’s not so much the number, but it’s whether or not they’re sterilized,” Hoff said. “That’s the big thing.”
While the City of Green Bay currently has a limit to the number of cats that can be at a residence, Hoff said the Village of Suamico and the Town of Pittsfield do not.
In regards to keeping a litter of puppies or kittens in the residence, the ordinance currently states the animals may be kept for no more than eight weeks.
Hoff said that is too short, and proposed to extend the period to five months.
“If someone does want to have a litter, they shouldn’t have to get rid of the puppies by eight weeks, because that’s really not appropriate,” she said. “Five months is when they need their rabies shots and when most vets would say they’re mature enough.”
Another change Hoff proposed was the section regarding dangerous dogs and how they are defined.
Currently, the code does not label a dog as necessarily dangerous if a bite or attack occurs while on its owner’s property because, as Hoff explained, it could be seen as “protecting its territory.”
Hoff proposes to remove the parts of the code that state “when off its owner’s property.”
“In the past, a dog had to be off the owner’s property in order for any of the attacking or biting to be an issue,” she said. “But there are situations where if a dog, even on its own property, is biting or attacking people, and then that’s not okay.”
Hoff said there is some leeway when it comes to a dog who attacks or bites another dog that comes on its property.
“If another domestic animal comes in a dog’s yard, it’s not necessarily going to be designated dangerous if it gets into a fight or attacks, because that’s just dog behavior,” Hoff said. “But if a dog attacks every human being that comes into its yard, then that’s probably a dangerous dog.”
Hoff wanted to see changes to what must be done after a dog is designated dangerous.
“Right now in our ordinance, if a dog is designated dangerous, then you have to get rid of it or you can’t keep it in the Village of Allouez,” she said.
Hoff stated this issue isn’t as cut and dry as the ordinance currently states.
“I think there are situations where a dog might qualify as dangerous or potentially dangerous, but it’s a family pet and it’s fine if its own home and with its own people,” Hoff said. “And if someone is willing to take extra precautions, then it would no longer pose a threat to other members of the community.”
Some of the proposed adjustments would be leash and muzzle enforcement, stricter confinement guidelines and additional insurance.
Code Enforcement Officer and Safety Coordinator Mike Lauder spoke to the board regarding concerns with the proposed updates.
Lauder said he believes six cats is too many for one residence in the village.
He also had concerns with Hoff’s proposal to remove the sections regarding a dog being on its owner’s property and defending its territory with another dog.
“If you’re going to allow your dog on my property without my permission for any reason, my dog should have the right to protect my property,” Lauder said.
When the board began discussing a vote, it was made known this ordinance should further be reviewed by the village’s attorney.
The board decided to table these proposed amendments while the issue is under legal review.
Green Bay Correctional Institution update
Village President Jim Rafter shared an update on the action regarding a state budget amendment to provide $5 million toward replacing Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI).
“As many of you know, there’s been an effort underway for quite a few years to close GBCI and to move that elsewhere and to make that property available for redevelopment,” Rafter said.
Rafter said the Joint Finance Committee has included in this upcoming budget that the $5 million should be used to locate a new property for the prison, purchase that property, and for the development of the new property on the existing site.
Rafter said this would be spent over the next two years, and the goal is to have GBCI closed by 2024.
Once the Legislature votes on the budget, it will then go to the governor for approval.
Rafter asked the public to show and share support on this.