Northport is looking to clarify ordinance that limits families to 3 dogs

Northport is looking to clarify ordinance that limits families to 3 dogs
(Source: Ugochi Iloka/WBRC)

NORTHPORT, AL (WBRC) - The City of Northport is looking at making changes to its dog ordinance, limiting families to three per household.

The City of Northport already said you can only have three dogs per house but it's how it's worded referring to how many feet from your neighbor's home that has some confused.

"The wording seemed to indicate before that you were not limited to the number you have on the property but only limited to the number you can have outside at one time. Often people don't intend to have 3 dogs initially but maybe their situation in life changes," said Stacey Jordan, a dog owner.

Stacey Jordan's fence is more than 50 feet away from her nearest neighbor, which is currently how far the ordinance said you can have 3 dogs, from your neighbor's house. 

The city administrator said they're looking to bump that up to 300 ft.

"Residents who buy or live in the city of Northport in a residential subdivision have rights that are protected and that's not just the rights of the neighbors but the dog owners as well," said Bruce Higginbotham, Northport City Administrator.

The big question is how the ordinance will be enforced, a detail city leaders are still trying to work out.

"Where we are going to be knocking on doors to discover if they have six dogs or two dogs, that's not the intent. Obviously if there are complaints and someone is having issues with neighbors, that's when we become involved," said Higginbotham.

"It makes me nervous cause it would only take one disgruntled neighbor to cause a stir. What are they going to do if you have too many animals? Are they going to seize your dogs? Are the dogs going to be put to sleep? There's a grey area there," said a neighbor.  

Originally the city council planned to talk about the possible dog ordinance changes Tuesday night.

But the city administrator said they're now going to hold off on that, until they can properly review their current ordinance some more.

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