Monday, June 1, 2009

Animals that are a nuisance

Sec. 5-20. Animal a nuisance.
(a) It shall be the duty of the animal control officer to investigate any proper claim that an animal is a nuisance within the meaning of this chapter. Should the investigating official determine that a nuisance exists and it is necessary to abate the nuisance or should the official have reason to believe a threat to public health or safety exists, he shall refer the matter to the city prosecutor for approval of a verified complaint and an order from the court that the animal be impounded. Following the filing of such verified complaint and an evidentiary hearing, if the court finds upon a preponderance of the evidence that a nuisance existed, the court may order the animal euthanized as in the case of a vicious animal. In lieu of ordering the animal euthanized, the court shall, at the request of the animal owner, require that the owner abate and prevent such nuisance and give a good and sufficient bond within three days in an amount not greater than $500.00, satisfactory for a period not exceeding one year. In this event, the court may order the return of such animal to the owner. However, during the pendency of such bond, upon a finding by the court that the nuisance has reoccurred, the court shall order the animal be impounded, euthanized and the owner's bond be forfeited. If the court shall find no nuisance existed, the court shall order the animal be surrendered to the owner.
(b) For purposes of this section, nuisance shall mean any animal that habitually commits any one or a combination of the following acts:
(1) Scratches or digs into any flower bed, garden, tilled soil, vines, shrubbery or small plants and in so doing injures the same;
(2) Overturns any garbage can or other vessel for waste products or scatters the contents of same;
(3) Chases any person or domestic animal, or kills any domestic animal;
(4) Barks, howls, brays or makes any other loud or offensive noise common to its species or peculiar to itself, so as to disturb the inhabitants of the community;
(5) Is running at large.
(c) At the option of the owner, but subject to the approval of the animal control officer, an animal impounded pursuant to this section may be impounded in a private kennel or veterinary clinic during the pendency of the nuisance action. The operators of the facility shall then assume full liability for the confinement and maintenance of such animal and shall not release it without first being authorized by the animal control officer or the court. All fees for such impoundment shall be the responsibility of the owner. In no event shall the City of Shawnee be liable for costs of fees charged by the private facility. Further, the city may assess to the owner the cost of transporting the animal to the privately operated impoundment facility.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the release from impoundment of any animal not properly licensed and vaccinated, or a threat to public health or safety.
(e) A violation of this section shall be punishable by a fine of $200.00, plus court costs.
(Ord. No. 2386NS, § 1, 12-1-2008; Ord. No. 2395NS, § 2, 2-17-2009)

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