Polk animal control ordinance amended

Published 10:47 pm Thursday, November 21, 2019

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New rules for sheltering animals included in changes

COLUMBUS—Polk County made some changes and additions to its animal control ordinance, including what is an acceptable level of care, adding that ferrets need to be vaccinated for rabies and verbiage for deeming an animal dangerous. 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday and unanimously approved the amendments to the ordinance. 

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County attorney Jana Berg described some of the changes to the ordinance. She said the ordinance added definitions as well as what is an acceptable level of care. 

The new ordinance adds verbiage in Section 8 for Animal Care. It will now be unlawful for any owner or custodian to fail to provide adequate shelter for an animal. 

“Adequate shelter means provision of and access to shelter that is suitable for the species, age, condition, size and type of each animal; provides adequate space for each animal; is safe and protects each animal from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight and the adverse effects of heat or cold, physical suffering and impairment of health; is properly cleaned; enables each animal to be clean and dry, except when detrimental to the species; and for dogs and cats, provides a solid surface, resting platform, pad, floor mat or similar devices that is large enough for the animal to lie on in a normal manner and can be maintained in a sanitary manner,” states the new ordinance. “Under this chapter, shelter whose wire grid, or slat floors which (i) permit the animals’ feet to pass through the openings, (II) sag under the animal’s weight, or (III) otherwise do not protect the animals’ feet or toes from injury are not adequate shelter.” 

Verbiage was also added that insulation must be provided against the elements of weather in the winter and must be kept in a cool shaded area in the summer. 

Other provisions were added on how people give over an animal to animal control so an animal can be adopted and an additional section for dangerous animals. Berg said the county had an incident where the ordinance did not do what the county wanted it to do concerning a dangerous animal. She said criminal charges were added as well as civil penalties. 

Commissioner Ray Gasperson asked about the municipalities and if they have to follow the county’s animal control ordinance. 

Animal control officer Patti Lovelace said the ordinance is county wide. Berg said if the municipalities want the county to enforce the ordinance in their jurisdictions, they already have or would have to approve a resolution for the county to do so.

The county will contact all the town and city clerks to ask if they have ever passed a resolution and send the towns the new changes.  

Commissioners asked Sheriff Tim Wright if he is comfortable with the changes prior to approving the amended ordinance. Wright said Lovelace is one of the hardest working people in Polk County and she and the board did a good job researching what need to be changed so he is very supportive of the amendments.