I bring this up because of something i saw in Hillsborough yesterday while at lunch.
In case you can't read it, here's a transcription:
The Animal Control of the Animal Services Department will be updating civil penalties and fees effective July 8, 2008.
The civil penalties and fees cover ordinance violations including animal mistreatment, public nuisance, and failure to vaccinate or license pets.
The flier goes on to give an accounting of these new fees and penalties.
those are some steep fees and penalties. I have no idea how many violations the Orange County Animal Control Department will actually end up citing. I would hope that, if they do a good enough job educating their population, that the number will be small, because the number of violations will be small. I have no such confidence that a similar condition will prevail in Durham County.
One of the responses that i hear a lot from people in Durham when i say that i don't recall having to deal with these issues when i lived in New York or California is, not always with a smile, "we don't care how you did things up north."
I ain't talking about how they do things up north, folks. I'm talking about how they do them next door. Too many aspects of Durham's public administration and public services are run as though this is still a small town where everyone knows everyone else, and all that's needed to take care of the problem is Sheriff Andy to put his arms around your shoulders and explain the facts of life, and everyone goes home happy.
Those days, if they ever existed, are long gone. It's time our public administration reflected this reality.
UPDATE: The Orange County ordinance dealing with nuisance animals:
Orange County Ordinance
Chapter 4. Animals
Sec. 445. Public Nuisance.
Public nuisance means the following activities of an animal, or conditions maintained or permitted by the animal's owner or keeper:
(1) The animal is found at large off the premises of its owner or keeper and not under the restraint of a competent person.
(2) The animal damages the property of anyone other than its owner or keeper, including but not limited to turning over garbage containers or damaging gardens, flowers, shrubbery, vegetables or trees, fences or gates, or causes injury to domesticated livestock or pets.
(3) The animal habitually and repeatedly barks, whines or howls so as to interfere seriously with the reasonable use and enjoyment by neighboring residents of their property.
(4) The animal repeatedly chases, snaps at or barks at persons, domesticated livestock, pets or vehicles when it is not in an enclosure, leashed or on the owner' s or keeper's property.
(5) The owner or keeper fails to confine a female dog while in heat (estrus) in a building or secure enclosure in such a manner that she will not be in contact with another dog; however, this subsection shall not be construed to prohibit the intentional breeding of animals within an enclosed area on the premises of the owner or keeper of an animal involved in the breeding process.
It shall be unlawful for an owner or keeper to permit an animal to create a public nuisance, or to maintain a public nuisance created by an animal. Compliance shall be required as follows:
(1) When an animal control officer or law enforcement officer observ es a violation, the owner or keeper will be provided written notification of such violation and be given 24 hours or less to abate the nuisance.
(2) Upon receipt of a written detailed and signed complaint alleging that any person is maintaining a public nuisance, the animal control director shall cause the owner or keeper of the animal in question to be notified that a complaint has been received, and shall cause the situation complained upon to be investigated and a written report to be prepared.
(3) If the written findings indicate that the complaint is justified, the animal control director shall cause the owner or keeper of the animal in question to be notified in writing, and shall order abatement of such nuisance within 24 hours or such lesser amount of time, which shall be designated on the abatement order.
(4) If, after 24 hours or such lesser time as is designated in the abatement order, the nuisance is not abated, the animal creating the nuisance may be impounded or a civil penalty may be issued and/or a criminal summons may be issued.
(Ord. of 6161987, § XV, eff. 111988; Ord. of 1111995, eff. 111997)
I particularly like the second part which spells out in detail the steps that will be taken to alleviate the nuisance, and the time frames involved. The vagueness of the barking section ("so as to interfere seriously with the reasonable use and enjoyment") which may limit its enforceability. Any of my Orange County readers have any experience in having nuisance animal problems resolved by Orange County Animal control? I know that in Durham, AC has dropped the barking dog provision from the nuisance animal ordinance, instead directing citizens to call Durham police and have the issue dealt with as a noise ordinance violation.
Good luck with that.
Labels: local government