L.A. City Council might change cat limit

L.A. City Council committee could vote to increase the limit of cats residents can own

If you ever felt that owning three cats was not enough, a Los Angeles City Council committee could soon take a step toward giving you license to have more of the furry little scamps.

But the goal of the proposed rule change is not to encourage cat hoarding, but to save felines.

Councilman Paul Koretz, chair of the council's Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee, is trying to change city codes to allow residents to be able to own five cats. Under current law, it is illegal to own more than three cats at a time without a kennel permit, though enforcement of that rule has been lax.

The committee will vote on the issue later on Tuesday afternoon. If the proposal to increase the cat limit passes this vote, it would then go to the City Council for a final vote.

The proposal would save cats at risk in city shelters because of space, said Brenda Barnette, general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services.

Cats are harder to get adopted than dogs, she said.

"Our live save rate for cats is only 55% compared to an 81% live save rate for dogs," Barnette said. "We want to give loving community members an opportunity to become part of the solution by adopting and/or fostering altered shelter cats in their homes."

Those who want more than five cats could pay license fees and agree to annual inspections. Any additional cats would have to be kept indoors.

The proposal has drawn mixed reactions from some animal rights advocates, who say it would legalize hoarding and strip animal control officers of their ability to ensure cats are not being neglected or mistreated.

The current limit on dogs is also three. No other pets have limits, Barnette said, although limits have been discussed for rabbits and birds. 

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