County tables new animal ordinance

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MONTROSE – Newly appointed Lee County Attorney Clinton Boddicker presented a proposed ordinance to Lee County Supervisors aimed at giving authorities more latitude with vicious animals.

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the board, Boddicker presented an ordinance that would give law enforcement more latitude to deal with vicious animals in unincorporated areas. The ordinance would require all animals to be licensed and tagged, and vaccinated against rabies. Any animals without proper collars and tags running wild in the unincorporated areas could be shot by law enforcement.

“The reason why I proposed an ordinance to you is the situation going on at the Powdertown area. There were two pit bulls out there that were attacking people and other animals in that area. We got some calls from residents out there about what can be done and the sheriff, as well, got some calls.”

Boddicker said state code doesn’t give counties a lot of guidance when it comes to companion animals wandering neighboring properties.

“It’s unfortunate, according to state code, that we don’t have a lot of options when it comes to a companion animal like that running free. They are limited, and have to do with whether or not the dog, for example, has rabies. If you have a dog out running around in the county without a collar or tag, a citizen can shoot that animal and the law enforcement has a duty to shoot the animal.”

Boddicker said those conditions didn’t apply here because the two dogs in the Powdertown area had been vaccinated.  The issue was the aggressive behavior. One of the dogs has been shot by a neighbor.

“The law allows someone to shoot the dog in that situation, but we want to do all we can to keep people from having target practice out in those unincorporated areas,” he said.

The ordinance being proposed is based on Story County and Linn County ordinances. Boddicker said he wasn’t leaning either way on the ordinances, but would go at the direction of the board.

Supervisor Ron Fedler said he wanted to have a bit more time to speak with his constituents.

“I would suggest that rather than having the first reading this week, we table this for a week so we can talk with people,” Fedler said.

Pflug asked what the ordinance would do if he’s on a property and gets bitten by a dog and the landowner doesn’t claim the animal.

Boddicker said the ordinance wouldn’t interfere with any civil remedies that a person would have in that situation.

“That was one of the problems in Powderton, I have angry residents call me and ask, ‘what can I do, what can I do’, and I’m on the other end of the phone saying you have civil remedies, and that doesn’t go very far with them.”

Supervisor Gary Folluo said the board should make phone calls and get out and speak with people and bring the information back to the board. He said it was his experience if they pass the first reading people will pack the place after it’s already in the process.

“It’s going to be our obligation to go out and find the public input and then bring that back,” Fedler agreed.

In other action,

  • the board also heard from Boddicker on whether or not to pass a stricter ordinance on the use of fireworks now that the state has passed a law allowing for the use of fireworks at certain times of the year including June through the week after July and around the New Year. Boddicker offered to draw up two resolutions, one in line with the state law and one with more strict language.
  • the board passed, 5-0, an amendment to the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget due to overages in several departments and some fund balance transfers.

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