Three States Pass “Two Pet Maximum” Ordinance-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Three states have passed “two pet maximum” ordinances and those who own more than two pets will have to decide which ones they surrender.
There’s no truth to reports that three states have passed “two pet maximum” ordinances.
That rumor started with the fake news website Associated Media Coverage. The report, which had been shared more than 10,000 on Facebook within day of being posted on May 6th, reports:
The ordinance was officially passed this week by state politicians in Texas, Arizona, and Missouri. According to statistics gathered and published by The Humane Society of the United States, abandoned pet rates have sky-rocketed in Texas, Arizona, and Missouri over the past 2 years.
State representatives from Texas, Arizona, and Missouri are hopeful that this new ordinance will drastically reduce the amount of abandoned pets within their respective states.
Statistics continue to show that local Humane Society shelters throughout Texas, Arizona, and Missouri, do not have the proper size of facilities to house the animals at the high rate they are receiving them. This leads to thousands of animals being euthanized almost immediately, which in-turn is costly for the tax-payer.
The first clue that this story is a hoax is its writer’s lack of understanding in how laws are passed. Municipal authorities — cities, villages or towns — enact ordinances, not state legislatures. That means it would be possible for state governments to enact a “two pet maximum” ordinance — or any ordinance for that matter.
And although Associated Media Coverage sounds like an official news outlet, it’s far from it. We’ve investigated multiple fake news stories from this site — favorites include reports that 11 states are implementing motorcycle curfews and that the FDA has banned the “juice” for vaping e-cigarettes.
However, even though the report that three states have made it illegal to own more than two pets are false, there are many local ordinances on the books in cities across the country that restrict the number of pets residents can own, according to Michigan State University’s Animal Law Center:
Pet limitation ordinances fall squarely within this legitimate exercise of police power. In an early case, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld a borough ordinance that limited the number of licensed dogs one could own to three. On appeal, a woman who apparently owned up to 39 dogs summarily challenged the ordinance as unreasonable. The court, however, found that, “[r]easonableness of an ordinance is ordinarily a question of fact. No facts have here been presented to establish that the ordinance is not reasonable and we cannot say that it is unreasonable upon its face when there is nothing to show the conditions that prevail in this particular municipality.” State v. Beckert , 61 A.2d 213 (N.J.Sup. 1948). Thus, one challenging such an ordinance has a high burden to meet, even in the absence of any showing that such an ordinance was necessary.
So, even though the report that three states have limited the number of pets an individual can own is false, there are actual ordinances on the books across the country that do just that.