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Hermosa Beach's Pet Limit Is Forcing This Couple To Give Up Two Of Their Cats

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Photo by Sam DCruz via Shutterstock
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A Hermosa Beach couple is being forced to lose two of their four cats after it turned out they were in violation of a pet limit they didn't even realize was on the books.

The Hermosa Beach City Council voted unanimously in November that Betty Starr and Steve Fry would have to give up two of their companions, named Tiger, Sebastian, Eevee, and Daisy. Hermosa Beach, like other Southern California cities, enforces a pet limit "to protect the owners', neighbors' and the animals' well-being," City Manager Tom Bakaly told The Daily Breeze.

In Los Angeles, there is currently a three-cat limit.

The couple were in violation of Hermosa Beach's two-pet limit for at least three years, but the issue had only made its way to the city government this past summer when neighbors got tired of dealing with cat poop in their yards. Things got so heated that neighbor Mike Balzer pulled a San Marino Mayor Dennis Kneier and flung a bag of poop on the couple's driveway.

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"You get to the point where you say: 'How long can you pick up someone’s poop from their pets?' This is an owner issue. They're not taking care of the animals, they're just letting them go wherever they want," neighbor Mike Balzer told the city council. "I'm done with it. It's a pain in the rear end. Two cats are enough and keep them in your yard."

"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. She needs to abide by the Municipal Code," another neighbor, James Weiss, told the council on November 5.

Starr applied for a permit to keep all four cats, and the city council allowed for her to do so if she kept all of her cats indoors. However, Starr says that her cats are so used to being outdoors that it'd be an impossibility. At this point, she just hopes she won't be forced to make her choice immediately. "It's like Sophie's Choice. We're just hoping the city doesn't send someone out here with two cat carriers and we have to make a decision right away."

"I think we're screwed," Starr said. "You can't fight City Hall. This all seems very personal. Maybe we were never really friendly enough neighbors."