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Boise city councilor’s puppy problem could pave path for code repeal

Boise city councilor’s puppy problem could pave path for code repeal

Dustin Hurst
January 23, 2015
Dustin Hurst
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January 23, 2015

A recent puppy purchase put a Boise city councilor in clear violation of his own government’s laws, and now he says he’ll look at repealing the “ridiculous” code.

City Councilor TJ Thomson told IdahoReporter.com he’ll work with the clerk’s office to review Boise’s non-commercial kennel license code, a regulation he admits he’s violating.

“We added a puppy in March 2014, so looking at this license application, it appears you are correct,” Thomson wrote in an email to IdahoReporter.com Thursday.

The code section mandates city residents file for a non-commercial kennel license if they house more than four dogs or cats of any combination. Besides the puppy, Thomson owns two other dogs and two cats, which he boasts he’s owned for more than 12 years. They’ve also, he pointed out, never been outside his Boise home.

There’s more to the process than simply filing the application and paying the fee, though. Boise requires applicants garner approval of having more than four cats and dogs in the house by at least 75 percent of neighbors within 100 feet of the property.

The license expires every Dec. 31, so pet owners must pay the $10 fee annually. They must also report to the city within three days any new animal additions. Newborn puppies and kittens get a pass for three months, after which they must be reported to the city, too.

The code also paves the way for city officials to inspect applicants’ homes at any time, provided search time is reasonable.

The law does not outline a punishment for residents who do not obtain the license.

The innocuous code section might not be well understood by Boise residents. Only 11 Boiseans have applied and been approved for the special license. That’s just .005 percent of the city’s 214,000 residents.

Thomson’s situation could spur the City Council to take action on the measure, which has been in place since at least 1988.

“I believe it is good there are so few that have been filed, because I will be the first to tell you this license is absolutely ridiculous,” Thomson wrote. “For the city to require citizens to seek permission from their neighbors to have a few indoor cats is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard in a long while.”

Thomson said he’ll follow the law until the council can review it and examine repeal. “It is important I follow the code as written,” Thomson said. “But even more so, it is important I know about code that has no reason for being code in the first place.”

Thomson did not tell IdahoReporter.com the names of any of his pets.

Update 10:32 a.m.: Thomson shared this tweet this morning:



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