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Tulsa Council Gets Proposed Animal Ordinance Changes

Tulsa Animal Welfare

Members of the Tulsa Animal Welfare Commission offered proposed ordinance changes this week to the city council.

After months of work, some of the proposed changes include tweaking dog and cat limits so people can have up to five dogs and instituting bigger fines for violations that threaten public safety, like not turning over a rabid animal.

Commission member Teresa Burkett said she’d also like to see city officials commit more money to enforcement, because stray dogs are scaring people away from newly renovated parks and other amenities.

"I continue to hear from several areas of our community that many citizens cannot use these wonderful investments because of the loose dogs," Burkett said.

Proposals to deal with animal cruelty and feral cat populations are expected in May. Animal Welfare Commission member and former Mayor Susan Savage said those are trickier issues to deal with.

Asked about making the city shelter a no-kill facility, Savage said that obscures the broader goal of having fewer stray animals. Savage said it’s more important to focus on strategies to control feral dog and cat populations, like spaying and neutering, than to have a no-kill facility.

"I would like to change the conversation a little bit, because I think no-kill shelter creates some unrealistic expectations," Savage said.

"There are reasons for euthanasia, but we want to avoid euthanasia because we have no space," Burkett said.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.