Animal control

Council Member Don Willis and Mayor Les Stapleton are pictured at Monday’s council meeting.

The Prestonsburg City Council held the first reading of a revised animal control ordinance this week.

The ordinance was drafted from recommendations proposed by a by council members Shag Branham, Brittainy Branham and Don Willis and Lou’s Place for Pets owner Sheena Maynard in November.

If approved during a final meeting, the ordinance would make animal control laws stricter in the city limits.

The city’s animal control ordinance defines animal cruelty, prohibits animal abuse, dog fighting, abandonment of domesticated animals and other animal-related issues. As written, it prohibits the keeping of bees in the city limits unless the bees “are kept in enclosed containers” and it prohibits the keeping of livestock, poultry unless the property is located in a “special purpose agricultural zone.” As written, the ordinance requires pet owners of animals to “prevent it” from “committing in the city any act constituting a nuisance.”

“It is a nuisance for any animal to habitually or frequently bark or cry, to chase vehicles, to molest or annoy any person at a place away from the property of its owner or custodian, or to damage, defile or destroy public or private property,” the ordinance reads. It also notes that allowing animal waste to “exude from any property” is a nuisance.

Among other things the, ordinance, as it is currently written, also requires the city to give public notice of the impounding of any dog by posting one copy of the description of the  dog and date of impoundment on the bulletin board at the front door of city hall.

Some of the proposed changes include the following:

Some of the proposed changes include the following:

• The parts of the animal control ordinance that dealt specifically with dogs would be changed to include “dogs and other domesticated animals.”

• The definition of “abandon” would be established as five days from the abandonment being reported to a local agency.

• A section  about animals to “running at large,” would state that no person shall permit an animal to run at large on a public road, highway, street, lane or alley, or upon enclosed areas or private areas without landowner consent, including all city-provided recreational facilities.

• “Adequate food” was proposed to be defined as “the provision of foodstuff that is uncontaminated, wholesome, palatable, and of sufficient quality and nutritive value to maintain the normal condition and weight of the animal. Food shall be provided at suitable intervals or at least once a day, unless restricted by a veterinarian. The diet shall be appropriate for the animal’s species, age and absent of agents injurious to the health of the animal.”

• “Adequate shade” was proposed to be defined, for dogs, as, “one (1) or more separate outside areas of shade, large enough to contain all dogs at one (1) time and to protect them from the direct rays of the sun. A doghouse shall not constitute adequate shade.” It was proposed to be defined for other domesticated animals as, “one (1) or more outside areas of shade large enough to protect all the animals present from the direct rays of the sun.”

• “Adequate shelter” was proposed to be defined, for dogs, as “an appropriate, durable, enclosed, permanent structure, or structure manufactured to serve primarily as an outdoor shelter for a dog, with a roof, four (4) sides, and a floor constructed in a manner to protect a dog’s feet and legs from injury and with dimensions appropriate for breed and size.” It would require the shelter to provide “adequate protection and shelter” from heat, cold, wind, rain and snow and have “sufficient amount of clean organic bedding material” to keep the dog warm and dry. For all other domesticated animals, the “adequate shelter” would be defined as a structure that provide adequate protection and shelter, as determined by the species, from heat, cold, wind, rain and snow.

• “Adequate water” was proposed to be defined as “constant access to a supply of clean, fresh, drinkable water ... in a sanitary manner.”

• A section was proposed to prohibit the use of “metal or choke-type” collars and harnesses, prohibits the use of chains that weigh more than five pounds and stretch less than 12 feet long. “A person shall not wrap a tether directly around a dog’s neck. An area where a dog is tethered shall be free of objects which could become tangled in the tether,” the recommendation states.

• A section was proposed to prohibit domesticated animals under the age of six months old to be kept outside when temperatures or 35 degrees or below.

• A section proposed to require “All domesticated pets shall be brought in during single digit weather including winter weather advisories.” The recommendation does not include pets that are being walked.

• Changes to the animal waste section would deem it unlawful for any person to permit the accumulation of animal excrement on property he or she owns or leases “so as to cause unsightly litter or fouling of the air by odor, thereby creating an unreasonable annoyance or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the premises.”

The proposed ordinance also stipulates that the owner of any dog or domesticated animal impounded by the city has seven days to redeem it, noting that if it is not claimed, the animal “may be destroyed in a humane manner, sold or disposed of” by the shelter.

The ordinance will not impact animals kept by veterinarians for treatment or dangerous or poisonous reptiles that are “securely confined” and “properly cared for.”

Violators of the ordinance, if it is approved, could pay fines of between $100 and $500 for each offense, and the fines could be implemented daily, if the problem is not corrected.

The full ordinance is available for public inspection at City Hall.

During the meeting, the council also held the first reading of an ordinance announcing that all meetings will be held at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month in 2020 except February, when the meeting will be held on Feb. 18 due to President’s Day. The ordinance says all meetings will take place at City Hall except the April 20 meeting, which will be held at the Mountain Arts Center.

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