ADVANCE, MO (KFVS) - Way too strict, or appropriate action? A canine controversy is brewing in Advance over a new ordinance limiting each household to two dogs.
According to Mayor Pete Ritter, it all started over several complaints of barking dogs that verged on out of control. While he says the ordinance was something they had to do in the best interest of the community. Some say the new rules go too far.
Mayor Ritter said in one case six dogs in one back yard brought quite a few complaints.
"It goes on every day and every night," said Angel Leon, a man who lives near those six dogs. 'It's bad. I can't sleep. It makes you want to leave. It drives me nuts."
Leon says he feels the ordinance is needed and he's considered moving.
"We have to think about the neighbors here," said Ritter. "It's in an area where children and elderly people live. If we let this go, we feel like someone else will come in with six or eight dogs and we don't want any more problems."
The ordinances limits homes in the city to two dogs. According to city leaders, they cannot grandfather in existing homes with more dogs. Also according to the ordinance, there can also be no commercial dog kennel operated within the corporate City of Advance. Violations could lead to a fine up to $500.00 and possibly jail time.
According to Ritter, in the situation with six dogs, the owners have been fined four times and the dogs are still there.
"It's held up in courts," said Ritter. "This maybe would have never come to this point if the issue would have been taken care of right off the jump go."
Then there's the other side.
'I just feel like they should have done more research," said Amanda Brooks. "Other big cities allow for many more dogs than this. I don't think it's fair to punish good owners for something one or a few people do to cause problems."
Brooks has two dogs. She says her friends and neighbors with more than two dogs are concerned about what will happen to their pets.
"Some of them want to move. Some of them have kids. They don't want to take their pets away," said Brooks. "There's no provisions for people who have had their three dogs for years."
"To some people these are their kids, you're taking their kids away," said another resident, Dustin Hess. Hess also has two dogs. "I don't think we need to take it out on the whole community over a couple complaints," said Hess.
Hess says the city needs to do more research before they make big decisions.
"I had posted on Facebook and talked about starting a petition against the ordinance," said Hess.
Residents and city leaders both expressed concerns because there is no longer a pound in Advance.
The next board meeting is April 15 at 6 p.m. at city hall.
The mayor invites the public.
Mayor Ritter says it's possible to appeal the ordinance, but he stands by the board's actions.