LEWISTON — The city should ease its rules and let residents keep up to four dogs, but take a more detailed look at ways to regulate the number of canines people keep later this year, city councilors said Tuesday.

City Administrator Ed Barrett said councilors could create a permit program for people who want to keep more than four dogs or allow residents with especially large lots or in certain zoning codes to keep more of the animals.

“Our recommendation is that there should be some limit on the number of dogs allowed but we do not have a specific recommendation — just what the council considers reasonable,” Barrett said. “It should be an administratively simple system, one that we can apply easily and is unambiguous.”

Lewiston’s code of ordinances currently allows multiple dogs at kennels, veterinarians and pet hospitals, pet stores and dog boarding houses.

But city codes do not allow residents to keep more than three dogs older than four months old, whether kept in a barn or a dwelling.

City Councilor Tim Lajoie brought matter to the council after talking with resident Trina Bolduc of 196 Pettingill St.

Advertisement

Bolduc said she tried to register her four Siberian huskies at the city clerk’s office this year, but was told she was limited to three dogs. She started investigating the city’s code and contacted Lajoie, worried that the city’s animal control officer would come onto her property and take away one of her dogs.

Barrett said Tuesday that’s not an issue. Police and animal control will not come onto a property for dog issues unless the dog is a nuisance or in danger.

“Normally, we try to contact the person and get voluntary compliance,” Barrett said.

But Barrett said staff favors some limits. Lewiston’s limit is similar to other Maine communities, Barrett said. Bangor, Biddeford, South Portland, Waterville and Westbrook all enforce a three-dog limit, while Auburn allows four dogs in single-family homes and three in multi-family dwellings. Brunswick, Sanford and Scarborough have no limit, he said.

He was supported by Dr. Jeff Mayerson, a veterinarian at the Lewiston Animal Hospital. He said that in many instances, keeping five or more dogs as pets can border on hoarding.

“There should have a limit; you should not arbitrarily have no dog limit,” Mayerson said. “If you want to modify this, limit it according to square footage. If you have more than 20,000 square feet, you can have that fourth dog. If you have 30,000 square feet, maybe you can have five.”

Barrett said he would present an ordinance to make the limit four at the next City Council meeting on April 5.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.