Residents call for petition to overturn animal ordinance

Some residents called for a petition to overturn a new animal ordinance adopted Monday at a Quay County Commission meeting.

QCS Photo: Thomas Garcia

Ordinance committee member, veterinarian Jean P. Corey talks to the residents about the proposed animal ordinance Monday at the regular Quay County Commission meeting.

"However many signatures it takes, I am certain the residents of Quay County will overturn this," said Noami Ashcraft, county resident.

"It seems the public hearing was just for show, the commissioners had their minds made up before they even voted," said Susan Stacy, county resident.

Stacy and Ashcraft were among more than 20 residents present for the commission meeting, which began with a public hearing lasting more than an hour.

The commission voted unanimously to approve the ordinance drafted by a committee of residents and aided by Tenth Judicial Assistant District Attorney Tom Blankney.

This was the second time the ordinance had been before the commission for approval this year. The ordinance has been in development since March 2011, and in September the ordinance was tabled to be reviewed and revised by the committee after residents expressed concern about the language.

However, many of the same and some new county residents argued about the language of the ordinance, many of them focusing on the number of animals they could own before having to apply for a $25 multiple animal ordinance.

"The number only applies if your animal are not spayed or neutered," said Brad Bryant, commissioner.

Bryant said many of the complaints brought up by the residents were not addressed in the ordinance. For example, he said, there is no language about chaining animals.

"It seems many of the residents did not read or read and did not fully understand the ordinance," Bryant said.

"This is not an idea which was thought up by the commission overnight," said Robert Lopez, commissioner.

Lopez said the ordinance was developed from concerns expressed to the commission. He said there may only be three percent of the county complaining but the commission must represent that three percent the very same way it would represent the 97 percent or majority of residents.

Some of the residents complained existing state statutes do and would provide all of the legal language and support for County Sheriff Joe Schallert to perform his duties and address the concerns of residents.

Schallert said while there is an existing state statute, it is limited to certain circumstances. He said be it ordinance or state law, he or his deputies would have to follow a procedure for a violation. There would need to be a report filed, if there is probable cause to support there was a violation once a complaint is filed though the sheriff's office to magistrate court and a hearing is held where testimony is heard from all parties and the judge makes a ruling.

Schallert said in order to take immediate action, such as seize an animal, he or the deputies have to see the violation take place.

The state statute does not cover trespassing dogs, though the ordinance which the commission passed does address that issue.

The commission "is doing everything it can to address the concerns and issues brought before us," said Bill Curry, commission chair.

Speak Your Mind

*