LAYTON -- The city council has denied a heartfelt plea by a dog owner to waive the city's limit on the number of pets allowed in a household.
J B Mooney petitioned the council Thursday for a waiver of the limit on pets, citing his wife's declining health, which has caused his daughter to move back into the house with her two dogs.
That move put the number of dogs in the household at four -- double what existing city guidelines allow.
Mooney said his wife has COPD and, when she is eligible to retire from a job at Hill Air Force Base, they will be moving to a city with a lower elevation.
That move should occur within six months, he said.
Mooney faces a difficult decision, as the county's animal control officer has told him to either solve the problem within 30 days or pay a fine. If the dogs are not removed from the property, they will be destroyed.
"We are going to be done. We have no choice. My wife's health will not allow us to stay at this altitude. Where we run into a choice is, do we have to put her two dogs to death?" Mooney said.
Mooney sought a temporary waiver on the dog ordinance, but City Attorney Gary Crane said city guidelines don't offer that option.
Crane said it would be almost impossible to establish criteria for such a waiver.
"When you draft an ordinance, you may include a lot of people but exclude some. Where do you draw a line?" he said.
"You will always have people who love their dogs, who may have to get rid of them."
Mayor Steve Curtis was sympathetic but saw no immediate resolution.
"There isn't a council member here who wouldn't empathize with you. ... Even though we empathize and sympathize, in order to look at the best interests of the city, the ordinance stands as it is," he said.
Mooney said he has never hidden the fact that four dogs are now in his house, but noted they are restrained to a fenced yard.
He described his plight as hanging onto the knot at the end of a rope.
Ideally, he said, he would be able to find a temporary home for his daughter's dogs, which would be reclaimed once the family actually moves to another city.
He said the prospects for that are bleak.
"It leaves me no other choice but to destroy the dogs, or file a suit, or find a home for the dogs."