Dog Lovers In Saugatuck Can Now Have Four Canines Per Household As City Changes Ordinance
Households in the City of Saugatuck are now allowed to have up to four dogs as pets following changes to the city’s ordinance approved by the city council on Monday.
The previous Saugatuck regulation only allowed for two dogs. City officials said they took their cue from the City of Douglas - which allows for up to four dogs and Grand Haven, MI, which allows three dogs per household - when considering the change.
While Monday’s amendment only dealt with the number of dogs permitted, the city council approved it under the condition that it would later revisit the issue to add more content.
The ordinance change is due to concerns expressed by Saugatuck City Council Member Mark Bekken who declared, “I would count myself as a dog lover.” However, Bekken said the proposed amendment needed “enhancement for further protections to the public.”
Over the last couple of months, city officials set out to review the regulations from other municipalities as it relates to the number of dogs that can be kept on a property as a pet.
They said they found out, for example, that the communities of South Haven, Harbor Springs, Traverse City and the City of Petoskey have regulations pertaining to possible negative impacts of dogs, but no regulation concerning the number of dogs a person can keep as a pet.
For Saugatuck city officials the core issue came down to, “What is a reasonable number?” Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier told council Monday.
Bekken told his colleagues he wanted to see full samples of other cities’ ordinances so they could look into other issues besides just the number of dogs allowed.
“I am interested in how other communities approach this,” he said.
“Some cities have a lot of regulations and some have none. It’s a wide spectrum,” said Harrier in response.
The dog issue came to the forefront in November when a local resident filed a complaint with the city, saying they felt exposed to danger by a neighbor’s dog and its barking.
The neighbor had three dogs, which under the then-ordinance was not allowed.
However, city officials felt the person filing the complaint was using the city’s ordinance as a “punitive” measure against his neighbor and no action or changes were made at that time.