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Hobart board discusses changing code to regulate dogs

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOBART – Possible changes to village code as it relates to the number of dogs allowed in a residence were further discussed Wednesday, April 7, by the Hobart village board.

The board previously discussed revising the code March 16, when Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said it appears there are errors and contradictions for regulating the number of dogs permitted in a residence.

Kramer said one clause in the code states a conditional use permit is required to keep more than two dogs in the R-1, R-2 and R-3 residential district.

However, he said another clause states someone keeping more than two dogs has to file a statement with the village clerk-treasurer.

As a result of last month’s discussion, board members said they favored a limit of two dogs for any property less than 2.5 acres, with five dogs being the maximum allowed for any property with more than 2.5 acres.

Village Administrator Aaron Kramer, right, speaks with Trustee David Dillenburg during the Wednesday, April 7, Hobart village board meeting. Kevin Boneske Photo

Kramer said the Planning and Zoning Commission would have to remove references to dogs in the zoning code as they relate to limits on the number of animals.

“You have to go through the Planning and Zoning (Commission) because it’s (in) the zoning code,” he said. “We have to have a public hearing for them to remove it, then we have to have the language on the backside for the board to put in. So, it’s going to be a little lengthier process than just passing an ordinance one night.”

However, for property zoned Estate Residential, Kramer suggested leaving animal units in the zoning code, with a dog still counting as one animal unit and up to five animal units allowed.

“Our thought was to leave the animal units in, just from a mathematical calculation,” he said. “It’s not a zoning issue. It’s just a mathematical formula.”

For residences currently having more dogs than the proposed limits, Kramer said the revised code would have to indicate they are “grandfathered” for property owners to continue to keep that number.

“They must obtain the required license for each additional dog, they have to sign that statement – essentially the old ordinance, just for the grandfathered cases – and pay an additional fee (of $25 for the third and all subsequent licenses issued),” he said.

After the dogs no longer reside on the property, Kramer said the revised code would not allow property owners to keep other dogs above the number allowed.

“When dogs three and four go away, you don’t add dogs three and four…,” he said. “You’re being grandfathered, but you’re not given perpetuity.”

In instances of when dogs would have puppies and exceed the number of dogs allowed at a residence, Kramer said village staff discussed what would be an adequate time frame to dispose of a litter of puppies to bring the property into compliance.

“It goes all over the board (in other Brown County municipalities ranging from) eight weeks in Ashwaubenon, Green Bay, Pulaski, (to) up to five months in Bellevue to dispose of a litter,” he said.

Kramer said staff recommended a 12-week time limit to dispose of a litter of puppies in Hobart.

He said an ordinance removing dogs regulations from the zoning code will be sent to the Planning and Zoning Commission for discussion and recommendation, and the board will set a public hearing on the first reading of an ordinance amending language related to animals.

“You’ll have a public hearing to amend the zoning code at the same time you’ll have the first reading on the new language to go in regulating the number of dogs,” Kramer said. “We should have this all wrapped up by the start of summer.”

He said the public will have opportunities to comment on changing the village code as it relates to the number of dogs allowed at a residence.

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