White Oak sets limit on household pets

For the first time, the White Oak’s animal ordinance has a cap on the number of cats and dogs households can have inside the city limits.
Any combination of up to six is permitted – any more than that risks a fine of up to $500 per day the number of a home’s four-legged fur babies exceeds the limit.
Council members adopted the amended ordinance Jan. 9 following a brief discussion, and there are some select defenses embedded in the regulations.
“Did we have a different number in there?” Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Hood asked.
“There was no number,” White Oak Police Chief Terry Roach said.
Roach brought the topic to the elected officials’ attention. While it applies across the board, there is a particular situation in mind, he acknowledged.
“There are some residents that have an overwhelming number of dogs,” he explained after the meeting. “Close to 50.”
As the ordinance was previously written, “There’s nothing that we can do about it.”
The police chief reached out to officials in Kilgore, Gladewater and Longview to inquire about their similar ordinances.
“Everyone has the number six in there.”
The change amends Chapter 10 of the White Oak Code of Ordinances, noting “to place a limitation on the number of dogs and cats is necessary to protect the health and safety of the citizens of White Oak and to further the quiet use and enjoyment of property located within the City limits.”
As amended, “It is unlawful for any household to own or keep more than six (6) dogs or cats, or any combination thereof upon any private premises within the City limits.”
The ordinance maintains provisions for veterinary clinics and animal hospitals, shelters and rescue organizations, pet shops and boarding kennels, research institutions and researchers as well as performing animal exhibitions and owners of animals that participate in recognized competitions.
Likewise, pet owners can still house a pet’s litter for up to 16 weeks.
An individual or entity can be cited for each day they violate the ordinance, and each citation can carry a fine of up to $500.
All that said, Roach added, there’s no imminent crackdown ahead – owners whose posse of pets exceeds the total have time to rehome the affected animals.
“We’ll work them,” he said. Especially for a residence with dozens of pets, “That many dogs is probably going to take six months or so” to relocate.

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