Mendham Township, New Jersey, is up in arms over the possibility of a new rule limiting the number of dogs that one person can own, a measure that's aimed squarely at one of the town's Rottweiler owners.

Here's the background: Mendham resident Vincent Carrabba raises Rottweilers to show competitively and keeps 12 of them on his three-acre property as pets. He does not sell them, and insists that "My dogs have never been loose, never bothered no one. They’re not barkers. You go down my street, you wouldn’t even know I had dogs." An animal-control officer backs him, calling his property "immaculate" after a visit last year. But some neighbors disagree, claiming that Carrabba's dogs bark constantly and terrify young children, who are too afraid to play outside in their own backyards: "We are in some ways prisoners on our own property," said one neighbor. Some claim Carrabba is running a commercial kennel in the residential neighborhood.

The ordinance they introduced would make it illegal to own more than three dogs on a one-acre property; one additional dog per acre would be allowed with a maximum of six dogs (puppies under five months excluded). There is no grandfather clause, so people who have more than the limit would be forced to get rid of one or more pets. Some residents are complain that they're being unfairly punished because of Carrabba: "Do not pass an ordinance that takes away all the liberties of this community," said Pat Lonergan.

Similar ordinances already exist in other New Jersey towns, though they were later amended to let owners keep their existing dogs.The Mendham Township Committee tabled the ordinance on Monday and will revisit the issue next month.