What We Do
We're on a mission to make Overland Park a fair and caring community for families with animals.
The Changes We're Proposing
Overhaul the current pet limit ordinance
The current Overland Park pet limit ordinance limits the number of animals a single household can have to 2 dogs and/or 2 cats. In addition to being arbitrarily low, this limit is unnecessary and intrusive. The ordinance punishes otherwise law abiding, compassionate animal lovers as well as the hundreds of animals waiting for permanent homes in our community. We're proposing an end to this ordinance.
The Reasons We're Committed
Pet limits prolong shelter stays for animals in need of homes
First and foremost, pet limits keep compassionate, responsible animal lovers from adopting pets in need. By prolonging the stay of animals in shelters, these animals are subjected to increased stress, uncertainty, and discomfort.
When people with the means, desires, resources, and qualifications necessary to responsibly care for multiple animals are denied that right, animals suffer. If the law were amended, many homes would gladly open their doors to the animals in need and thus ensure many more pets are safe with loving families.
Pet limit ordinances are ineffective.
It’s important to note that the city government and most of the community want the same thing: safe, peaceful communities, responsible pet ownership, and extraordinary quality of care for animals.
Unfortunately, pet limit laws, although well intentioned and designed to ensure responsible pet ownership, fall short of actually doing so. Pets limits do nothing to education or train irresponsible pet owners, they simply restrict many responsible pet owners to mitigate for the few irresponsible ones.
The NCRC and AKC have done research that concludes communities with overly restrictive pet limits have a lower rate of compliance around the measures that actually keep pets and communities safe like regular and necessary vaccinations, other veterinary care like spay and neuters, and pet licensing.
Owners hoping to evade limit laws, and avoid punishment or confiscation, may try to hide the number of dogs or cats they own. As a result, they avoid the things that put them at risk of being found-out. The resulting irresponsible behaviors jeopardize public health by affecting things like rabies prevention, causing real threats to public safety.
Pet limit laws are unnecessary and redundant.
Proponents of pet limit laws argue that these ordinances are necessary to stop animal neglect and abuse caused by people who take in more animals than they can adequately care for and that the limits are necessary to ensure sanitary conditions, or to maintain safe and pleasant neighborhoods.
Number of animals notwithstanding, laws are already in place to address animal welfare, health and property rights. In fact, unsanitary conditions, excessive noise, and interference with property are all unlawful in virtually every community-regardless of whether pets inhabit the premises or not. These laws make the pet limit redundant and unnecessary.
Pet limit laws are intrusive and arbitrary.
There is no evidence to indicate that the number of pets any one household harbors is directly correlated to the safety and/or well being of the general public. Whereas one person may be able to adequately care for five or more animals, another might struggle to responsibly care for even one.
The idea that a threshold of two pets of any one type is in the best interest of the animals and the community at large is an unsubstantiated overreach of government power. Additionally, these laws are enforced on a complaint-only basis, which undermines the idea that laws apply equitably to all parties within a municipality and makes them easy to evade.
Pet limit exemptions are also intrusive and risky.
Pet limit exemptions, or Special Animal Permits, like the one Overland Park currently has in place, forces pet owners to decide whether or not to apply for the exemption and possibly have their beloved pets confiscated should they be denied, or knowingly break the law and not apply in hopes of not being caught.
It should also be noted that Overland Park claims to never have denied any of the 300 Special Animal Permits it has received. To assert no one has been denied is further admission of it being a redundant and unnecessary process.
Special Animal Permits are costly to the city and the residents. The process is intrusive, often times including a home inspection and neighbor interviews - events that are reserved for these ordinances specifically.
Special Animal Permits fail to ensure responsible pet ownership, they simply ensure a resident has a home inspection prior to acquisition of a new pet. The Special Animal Permit cannot guarantee residents are then able to adequately care, train, or control additional pets.
The Ways You Can Get Involved
Every voice matters
Proposed Pet Limit Alternatives
Read and share our proposal to the Overland Park City Council
Frequently Asked Questions
Won't increasing the limit promote hoarding?
Hoarding is a DSM classified mental illness, and unfortunately, it will happen regardless of city ordinances. No ordinance will stop someone from the compulsion to hoard animals, which is why the ordinance unduly punishes compassionate, qualified, responsible pet owners and keeps animals suffering in shelters.
Will increasing the pet limit increase instances of rabies?
In Overland Park, regardless of the number of animals a person has, he/she is required to provide proof of vaccination yearly in exchange for the mandated pet license. People with two dogs and people with four dogs will be required to vaccinate each of their animals regardless. So in short, not at all. In fact, research suggests that communities with restrictive pet limit laws have higher incidence of unvaccinated animals.
But what if my neighbor's animals are a nuisance?
Good news! Laws already exist to protect you from disruptive, unsafe, unsanitary animals in your community. Even better news! Laws exist to protect animals from dangerous, abusive, and neglectful situations as well. Stricter enforcement of those laws is a necessary and effective way to ensure responsible pet ownership. Arbitrary pet limit laws are neither effective nor necessary.
Click on the logos for ordinance specific information.
Who's Talking About Us
Who We Are
Audrey Sanchez has been rescuing pets for nearly two decades. A fierce advocate for animal welfare, Audrey is committed to finding every animal a loving home, although she has a special soft spot for long term shelter residents and hard to adopt animals.
Hundreds of supporters just like you across Kansas City and the world. Join our movement by signing the petition, following us on Twitter, and sharing our work.