Germantown — Germantown officials on Monday debated whether they can create a cap on how many cats a resident can own, before approving a fancier's license to allow Julie Petersen to have more than a dozen cats.
Petersen, who lives on Hilltop Drive in Germantown, applied for the fancier's license after meeting all the requirements to house 16 cats. The village was requiring that all 16 cats be spayed and neutered, registered with the village, properly vaccinated and prohibited from freely roaming the neighborhood.
Village code requires a fancier's license for people wanting to house three or more dogs, cats or a combination of both. There is no limit to the number of pets once a fancier's license is granted.
Petersen has been cited in the past year for not yet having a fancier's license and housing all 16 cats, Village President Dean Wolter said. Some board members questioned why it took her so long to apply for a license. Though Petersen was not there to represent herself, Wolter said it may have taken her a considerable amount of time to meet license requirements after the village was made aware of the 16 cats.
Trustee Melvin Ewert, who voted against the license and lives in Petersen's neighborhood, said none of the neighbors in that area want a residence to house that many cats.
"It's just plain ridiculous to have 16 cats in a three-bedroom home without a basement," Ewert said.
The Public Safety Committee approved the license July 1 before sending the item to the Village Board. Notices were sent to neighbors, and no one appeared at the committee level to speak for or against the license.
Trustee Terri Kaminski said the Village Board needs to review the fancier license ordinance to put a cap on the number of animals allowed. However, until that is done, she said, they should not deny the license because Petersen has met all of the requirements, many of which bore a cost.
"Until we change our ordinance to limit the number of cats and dogs, I don't think it would be fair to refuse a permit for someone who has gone through and done everything we asked them to do," Kaminski said. "It's not fair to single her out."
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