CHEYENNE -- The Cheyenne City Council Monday night approved the nation's first animal ban.
The new statute will prohibit the sale, adoption and ownership of all new animals within the city limits.
The ban includes dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, mice, hamsters, all species of reptiles, rats, horses, cattle (including bulls and calves used for rodeo), sheep and other animals deemed inappropriate for the community.
Tropical fish will be allowed as long as they stay in their tanks.
For animal owners, that means only existing pets will be allowed within the city.
They were grandfathered in after an amendment was offered by Councilwoman Judy Case.
She offered it after a city-hired consultant made the recommendation.
The city now plans to tout the fact that it is an "Animal-free Community" on each of the signs that visitors see when they come into town.
Words to that effect will be added to the signs in time for Cheyenne Frontier Days.
The new ban is response to an earlier proposal to ban dogs at local sporting venues. That idea grew out of public concern that some dog owners were allowing their dogs to leave feces on sporting fields.
City staff wanted to ban dogs altogether, but a majority of the council thought the idea was unfair since it targeted just one species of pet.
The council opted for a total ban on a 10-0 vote.
"I think this is an historic vote," Mayor Jack Spiker. "Not only is the city treating all pet owners the same, but this is a unanimous decision on the part of the council -- the first in a long time."
Councilman Pete Laybourn told the rest of the council it was time to "put up or shut up."
He offered an amendment that provides for a procedure to take a census of the number of existing animals within the city and for police to monitor all animals and all waste found in the community.
Councilman Tom Segrave called for a local pet registration that will charge existing pet owners $125 for each dog they own, $75 for each cat and $25 for other animals that are allowed outdoors.
The money will be used to keep files each animal's DNA to determine which animals are responsible for leaving feces on Greenways, in parks or at sporting fields around the city.
Segrave called for this amendment after hearing from some soccer parents that even the pet ban did not go far enough.
They sought further guarantees that no feces would get on their children.
It passed 8-2. Laybourn and Case voted no.
The only other amendment to the ban centered on Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Animals will be allowed to be brought in during the 10-day run of world's largest outdoor rodeo.
Spiker said CFD was too important to the city's economy to ban all animals during the annual event.
Cheyenne Parks and Recreation Director Rick Parrish said this ban will solve a lot of problems.
"As Cheyenne gets fewer pets, the problem (of animal waste in public places) will begin to go away," he said. "I will bet that people will welcome the idea of not having to worry about walking or having their children play with feces in public places."
Councilman Don Pierson, who said last month that if the city's leash law was enforced there wouldn't be a problem, changed his position and backed the idea wholeheartedly.
"This is better than I thought it would be," he said.
Spiker said he was concerned that the animal ban may force some people to move to rural areas where they can have as many animals as they wish.
But they would not, he said, be allowed to bring their pets into the city.
"We will let the county deal with all those extra animals," he said.
Laramie County Commission Jeff Ketcham has hailed the measure, calling it a form of "reverse annexation."
He welcomed all pet owners to move outside city limits after he had an angry exchange with Spiker at a recent public meeting on the matter.