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Alexandria pet laws limit number of dogs and cats

Sunday - 5/20/2012, 7:25am  ET

WASHINGTON - How many pets are too many?

In Alexandria, there's a legal limit to the number of pets residents can have. When it comes to dogs, the number is three. For cats, it's four.

The law has been on the books since 1995, according to the Alexandria Times. Joy Wilson, chief animal control officer, says it is enforced, but usually after somebody complains.

Wilson says cutting down on too many animals is more about the recognized medical condition known as hoarding. Some sufferers hoard newspapers, food, clothing or bottles. Others hoard animals.

Hoarding is such a problem that there's a national task force focusing on the issue. The task force includes animal control officers, who say it's really all about what's best for the animals.

While some homes in Alexandria have huge yards, many apartments are just too small for one dog to live in comfortably, let alone two or three. Keeping too many dogs or cats could truly endanger living beings who cannot control their owners.

The fine for exceeding the limit is $50.

WTOP's Rosemary Frisino Toohey contributed to this report.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)