People would be restricted to having a maximum of three dogs or cats per household in high-density areas – homes on lots half an acre or smaller –and two dogs or cats in multi-family housing, such as apartment buildings, County Attorney Rock Moorefield said Tuesday.
City leaders said adopting the proposal would make pet restrictions uniform across the county, but they have not set a timetable on when to move forward with the idea.
Currently, the county limits residents to a maximum of two dogs but has no restrictions on the number of cats. Fayetteville has no pet limits.
Dog owner Karen Goble supports the idea.
"In order to really properly take care of them, keep them well and give them the attention that they need and quality of life, then three is a lot," she said.
For Cumberland County Animal Control Director John Lauby, the issue comes down to workload management.
"The problem is we're dealing with 200 to 250 calls a day, every day – animals in the city, animals in the county, animals chasing people," Lauby said.
The draft ordinance would impose $100 daily fines for violations. People who already have more than the allowed number of pets would be allowed to keep them.
Mayor Tony Chavonne said he supports the pet limit.
City Councilman Wade Fowler, however, said the proposal could tread on the property rights of responsible pet owners.
"You have responsible pet owners who can have more than that and take care of them, keep them clean and not cause any problems," Fowler said. "Then you have those with fewer pets that have continued problems with the neighbors."
"Unfortunately, we're dealing with (the fact) that most people aren't responsible," he said.
There is no precedent in the Triangle for such an ordinance – neither Raleigh, Cary nor Durham put a cap on the allowed number of pets per property.