TRUMBULL COUNTY Proposal for pet legislation peeves official

The Animal Rights Party will examine how legislators and public officials treat animals.
WARREN -- Proposed legislation that would limit the number of pets allowed to city residents is the last straw for area animal lovers.
First, John Leopardi, president of Trumbull County Humane Society, said he had concerns about how some animals in an exhibit were treated at the Trumbull County Fair. Although he and others complained to elected officials, nobody listened, he said.
There also was the brouhaha in May when Howland Township trustees voted to fine owners of noisy dogs. Although many protested the ordinance, it passed.
Legislation response: Now, in response to legislation proposed by Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd, to limit the number of pets city residents can own, Leopardi said he won't take it anymore -- and is putting voting power behind his convictions.
"The animals don't vote -- we do," Leopardi said. "If [legislators] don't like these animals, they don't like us, either."
He's in the process of forming the Animal Rights Party, a political group that will examine how legislators and public officials treat animals. So far, more than 100 people have expressed interest in the party, he said.
"We'll be supporting those candidates who are pet-friendly and opposing those who are not," Leopardi said. "We're trying to give the animals a voice."
Against limit: He said it makes no sense to limit how many pets a person can own because it's not the number of pets that's the problem, but the way they're treated.
"If you have a vicious dog, it's because it was raised that way," Leopardi said. "Does the number matter?"
He added that if the legislation does pass, the people who own too many pets would have to get rid of them -- dumping them in kennels, parks and country roads.
"It is very illogical legislation," he said.
Novak said the legislation is not aimed at the responsible pet owners of the city, but those who neglect their animals, especially outside dogs and cats.
"It's a problem dealing with irresponsible owners and the care of animals," Novak said.
He said the legislation is also aimed at people who are boarding and breeding pets at their houses.
License system: He said lawmakers are considering a system of licenses for people who want more than the allowed number of pets.
Leopardi said he plans to talk to city council before the legislation is voted on.
"We want to see these animals protected," he said. "Is somebody going to cry out against this or not?"

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