After weeks of debate and hearing input from the public, the Mobile City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to recommend changes to the city’s animal control ordinance.

The recommended amendment won’t ban the sale of animals at the flea market, but will increase the level of regulation for vendors, especially when it comes to sales of puppies. Private home breeders, the Greater Gulf State Fair, as well as 4-H and other similar activities will be exempt.

The recommended changes do not allow sales on sidewalks, public streets, roadways or parks.

Under the new proposed regulations, vendors selling puppies must provide a state-issued small animal health certificate and proof of a negative fecal exam to buyers. The certificate must be signed by a USDA-certified veterinarian and it must be from no longer than 10 days before the purchase.

Puppies sold at the flea market must be at least 12 weeks old and a sign stipulating to these regulations must be present at each vendor location within the market.

Puppies sold at the market must also come with an identifying microchip, which is a stipulation that was added upon request of Councilman John Williams, a Public Safety Committee member.

“If we don’t have a way of tracking where the animals come from, we’re never going to tackle this issue,” Williams said.

Williams initially asked for more time on the issue, partially due to complaints he heard from flea market advocates asking why it was being singled out.

“I’m not convinced flea market is the problem,” Williams said. “It has it’s problems … ”

In other business, the committee recommended the full council vote on an amendment to the city’s noise ordinance in residential districts.

Chief Assistant City Attorney Florence Kessler said the amendment would give Mobile Police Department officers another way to enforce the noise ordinance.

The ordinance, as it’s written now, forces police to measure noise complaints using a decibel meter. That means officers will answer a complaint call and then have to leave to pick up a decibel meter before returning to the scene, Kessler said.

The amendment would allow police to issue a ticket if the noise is plainly audible from 50 feet between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and from 25 feet, after 10 p.m.
The ordinance only applies to residential districts, Kessler said.