A Hermosa Beach rule likely designed to prevent dangerous and sad animal-hoarding situations has led to a couple having to choose favorites among their four cats. Betty Starr and Steve Fry are trying to figure out which two cats will be able to remain home with them and which two will have to be shuttled off to a shelter in order to keep them in compliance with the two-cat-per-household limit, which Hermosa actually enforces (when people complain, it seems). The Daily Breeze reports that the couple didn't even know that the city had a limit on pets (LA doesn't, but other nearby cities like Manhattan Beach and El Segundo do) and now's she's got no choice but to ditch two of their cats.
Starr and Fry's violation of the pet limit came to light by way of complaints filed by a neighbor. The cat owners have had several run-ins with the man, who fingered the cats as being serial dumpers who defecated all over his property. Their encounters culminated in an incident in which he threw cat poop on their driveway. Another neighbor told the Hermosa Beach City Council, "I had cat (expletive) in my yard on Monday and I'm tired of it. I'm a member of the National Audubon Society and her cats are [bird] killers. I don't want them outside," with that last utterance getting at the real issue here: no one wants these cats out roaming freely.
Before giving in, Starr and Fry petitioned the city to keep all of their cats, but the city council ruled that she could only keep them all if they became purely indoor cats. They say that's not possible, as the cats are already used to going in and out as they wish, so the result is that they're now deciding which of their pets to get rid of. They thought about getting an attorney, but, ultimately, Starr says, "I think we're screwed. You can't fight City Hall. This all seems very personal. Maybe we were never really friendly enough neighbors."
· Hermosa Beach's two-pet rule divides neighbors [DB]