Animal licensing fees drawing feedback

Friday, July 24, 2009

We've advocated the creation of an animal control officer position in this space before, citing the inordinate amount of time uniformed police officers seem to spend on animal complaints.

In a first step toward that goal, new animal licensing ordinances are working their way through the McCook City Council.

The ordinance includes 25 sections of city law relating to pets and also cracks down on those who own vicious dogs. It will go through two more readings before enacted.

The proposed laws include dog licenses of $15 each year per dog for altered dogs and $45 per year for each unaltered dog; $10 per year for each altered cat and $30 per year for each unaltered cat.

The license fees will be paid at the city office and deposited into the General Fund, with the money used to offset the cost of an animal control officer and other animal control costs. A rabies shot certificate will be required for each dog, cat or hybrid animal before the license is issued. Licenses would be required on or by Aug. 31 of each year.

The ordinance also require owners of potentially dangerous dogs, dangerous dogs or hybrid animals to obtain liability insurance for each animal at the minimum of $150,000 per animal.

Other points:

* Licensing fees for an altered, potentially dangerous dogs will be $250 per year, per dog; unaltered, potentially dangerous dogs will cost $500 per year, per dog, and owners of an altered or unaltered dangerous/vicious dog will pay a fee of $500 each year if said dog has not been euthanized.

* Owners who are found without licensed pets will pay $50 for the first offense, $75 for the second and $100 for the third and subsequent violations.

* Dog at large penalties are increased to $50 for the first, second and third offenses and $100 for the fourth and subsequent offenses. Currently, those ticketed for having a dog running loose pay $20 each time. Owners of a dangerous dog caught running loose will pay $500.

* Mandates specific requirements for housing dogs deemed dangerous/potentially dangerous.

* Those cited for feeding feral animals will be ticketed $20 for the first time, $50 the second time.

The proposal has been generating feedback, specifically the amount of the fees. As one reader posted online at http://mccookgazette.com, fees for altered and unaltered animals are much lower in other, similar-sized Nebraska towns.

While there is no free lunch, and the animal control position must be funded, why can't funding for animal control time the police department no longer needs be diverted to the new position?

Whatever your opinion, let your City Council member know in time for the next vote.

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  • I'm not pleased with some of the changes the city attorney has done. I haven't read through them all yet. I'm hoping to see some good ideas as well.

    -- Posted by amystrauch on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 2:22 PM
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