A plan to put some teeth into Lee County's animal control ordinance will likely be scaled back before it comes up for a vote.
Sheriff Stacy Weber said because the county’s current law only addresses rabies control, his deputies are limited in what they can do when confronted by reports of a dangerous or vicious dog. He said such reports are on the rise, especially in rural parts of the county.
In response, County Attorney Clinton Boddicker on May 16 presented the county board with a new ordinance that addresses a wide range of animal control issues including:
- The owner shall attach a permanent identification device to his/her dog or companion cat’s collar.
- It shall be unlawful for an animal to run at large.
- It shall be unlawful for the owner of an animal to permit such animal to attack persons or domestic animals or to destroy property or to permit such animal to place persons in reasonable fear of attack or injury.
The revamped ordinance would carry potential fines of $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for each subsequent offense.
Several county board members raised concerns about the ordinance, in particular how their rural constituents would react to the new rules prohibiting dogs running at large. The end result: the county board tabled the proposal.
Boddicker updated the board on May 23, telling supervisors that he is revamping the original proposal to focus on addressing dangerous or vicious animals.
Supervisor Ron Fedler said he would support the scaling back of the proposal. He said he talked to residents and found they generally agree it is a good idea to address the issue of dangerous or vicious animals, but it's not a good idea to restrict the rights of rural property owners.
The Lee County Board is expected to consider the new ordinance during its first meeting in June.