Gautier prepares to put more teeth into its animal ordinance

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Gautier is putting more teeth into its animal and fowl control ordinance to crackdown on violators and to help protect animals. City officials said the revised ordinance proposal is long overdue.

The newly proposed animal ordinance has been in the works at least a year. Gautier's Animal Control Officer, Anthony Malis, said one of the major changes in the ordinance is limiting the number of dogs and cats allowed per household.

"Now there is no limit, but the new ordinance will put a five animal cap, maybe three dogs, two cats or three cats, two dogs. Yes, you can apply to the city council to have that number increased," Malis said.

He said the change aims to protect responsible animal owners, yet stop irresponsible ones from hoarding animals.

"I do see situations of animal hoarding. The animals are not being properly cared for. They are being denied by financial means or not getting the proper medical attention."

The revision also requires people to put their pets on a leash to prevent them from running loose on public streets and causing accidents.

"The person walking the animal loses control over the animal because it is running down the road chasing another animal or child."

Gautier Mayor Gordon Gollott agrees. He said the proposed ordinance now bases the viciousness of an animal on its dangerous actions instead of just a breed.

"Yes, we have strengthened what you can determine what is a vicious animal. For example, a vicious animal is one that has attacked another dog or a person," Gollott said.

City officials said this tweaking was vital and hope citizens will support the proposed changes.

"We are not trying to discourage people from owning animals within the city or fowls, ducks, chickens, horses, cows. In fact, we just created a dog park in the city so people have a place to enjoy the animals. We are updating our ordinances to make sure we are uniformed what we are providing here."

Gautier officials will hold a public workshop on this proposed animal ordinance at city hall on March 11 at 6 p.m.

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