COLUMBUS — Columbus Animal Control is recommending a ban on miniature pigs and roosters within the city limits and a licensing change for other pets that makes the process easier for owners.
The changes were outlined during this week’s Public Property, Safety and Works Committee meeting and received support from that group.
Animal Control Officer Shawn Flowers said the recommendations are part of an effort to make the city rules regarding pets “more modern.”
“I’m trying to be more proactive and trying to make things better for the citizens, too,” he said.
Flowers said the ban on roosters is needed because there’s evidence the animals are being raised for organized fighting in the area and their crowing can be a nuisance for neighbors, including three Public Property, Safety and Works Committee members who voiced complaints during Monday’s meeting.
“It does bother some people if it’s right next door,” the animal control officer said.
Banning roosters still allows people to raise chickens for egg production.
As for miniature pigs, Flowers said “there is no such thing” as currently defined by city code, which allows the animals if they’re less than 100 pounds, registered as purebred and tested for pseudorabies.
Flowers said the animals will grow larger than 100 pounds within a year, there’s no main registry for purebred miniature pigs and local veterinary offices don’t offer the expensive pseudorabies testing.
He’s aware of only one person in town who has a miniature pig.
Another change would make pet licenses valid for a full year from the date they’re issued — like vehicle license plates — instead of a calendar year.
“It makes more sense,” said Flowers, who believes the adjustment would reduce the number of license renewal reminders the animal control office must send out each year.
“We just want things to be easier for people,” he added.
A final proposed change impacts the number of animals Columbus residents can keep at their property.
The current code says people can have no more than five rabbits or fowl combined, and no more than 15 birds over 6 months of age.
The update would allow up to five rabbits, 10 small fowl, three large fowl and 15 birds no larger than 10 inches. It would also impose a limit of three ferrets per residence and require the animals to be vaccinated for rabies.
Quaker parrots, which are parakeets, would be removed from the exotic animal list.
Flowers said the adjusted numbers for rabbits and fowl allow youths to raise animals for programs such as 4-H and FFA while keeping some restrictions in place.
“We’re big enough to be a city, but we’re still small enough to be a farming community,” he said.
The proposed changes are part of an update to the entire city code currently underway. That process is expected to take several more months before any approved changes are implemented.