Proposed ordinance would limit pet numbers - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Proposed ordinance would limit pet numbers

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV)- Soon some East Texas animal lovers may be limited to the number of pets they can share their home with.

One community is proposing an ordinance that only allows for four animals per household.
The rule was drafted in part after several complaints were filed against a Smith County animal rescue.

Hundreds of rabbits are the latest addition to the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch. 

"They traveled over 2,400 miles to come here," said Bob Lenham, owner of the 43 acre rescue operation.

Lenham fears he may have to give up the 200 rabbits he just rescued from Canada if the proposed ordinance passes Friday night.
"We feel we've been targeted," he said.

But on the other side of the fence, Lenham's neighbor, Steve Hodges tells a very different story.
"I really think they're trying to do their best to keep it down, but when you've got that many animals and it's that far out of control, fences aren't going to do it," said Hodges.

Most of Lenham's dogs were put up when KLTVs cameras were rolling. Lenham says he has just over 30 dogs living on his property that borders a neighborhood.

"I get up during the night and quiet the dogs and they will listen," said Lenham. "That doesn't help the neighbors initially, but that's the best that we can do right now."
Hodges says that's not good enough. He says the rescue has turned into a permanent home for hundreds of animals.
"When you've got that many dogs, that many deer, that many horses, that many rabbits all in one location like that how can that not be considered hoarding when they pretty much have free reign of the whole place over there," said Hodges.
"It doesn't make me feel good because we don't hoard the animals," said Lenham. "Our goal has always been and always will be rather it be something involving wildlife or domestic animals is to get them to where they can survive on their own."

Although a state game warden rejected to renew Lehman's wildlife rehabilitation permit, deer still roam his property. Lehman says the deer were once other people's pets and don't want to leave the ranch. Soon, that choice may not be theirs to make. 
The meeting is Friday at 7 p.m. in the Whitehouse City Council chambers.
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