A proposal to amend chapter 14 to the Branson Municipal Code relating to animals was an area of discussion at the unofficial study session on Sept. 19.
Police Chief Jeff Matthews led the discussion and Sgt. Stan Kauffman joined.
“We were asked some time ago, last yearish, to look at the animal ordinance and bring it up to date and have done some pretty extensive overhaul. We’re putting measures into the proposal, they’re actually common-place in other jurisdictions. It gives our animal control officers the ability to take some actions that, right now, we’re not able to take,” said Matthews. “Last January, of ‘18 that is, we accepted the responsibility as a city for animal control matters within the city. Prior to that, it was a contract with the county, we now have two animal control officers that came on staff, January of last year, and then we contract with the county to house our strays.”
The proposed changes include:
–License program for dogs and cats
–Limit number of animals in residences and lodging establishments
–Revise commercial animal establishments
–Update dangerous and vicious dog
–Add prohibition to exotic animals
Proposed requirements for animal licensing (Sec 14-62) - Animal license for dogs and cat, fees.:
–It shall be the duty of every person owning, keeping or harboring in the city any dog or cat to procure an animal license from the finance director. No animal license shall be issued without a current rabies certificate from a state licensed veterinarian.
- Animal License are based on a calendar year and the fees are listed in the city fee schedule. Fees may be established for a period either one year or three years. A three year license shall only be issued if the dog or cat has a three year rabies vaccine certificate from a state licensed veterinarian. Late fees may be assessed for licenses not purchased within 60 days.
- Service dogs are exempt from the fee but still need to be licensed.
–No refund will be made for license of animals deceased or otherwise removed from the city during the period of a license.
–Licensing requirements under this section shall only apply to residents of the city.
–Proposed fees would go into effect on January 1, 2020.
Dangerous dog and vicious dog (updates and definitions):
There are three types of status for a dog that can be declared: potentially dangerous dog, dangerous dog or vicious dog.
Potentially dangerous dog:
–While at large, behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses a serious/unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to a person or domestic animals.
–While at large, causes injury to a domestic animal.
–Any dog that has caused a bite injury and has not been declared a vicious dog (established additional requirements to keep this type of dog).
–A dog without provocation or justification bites or attacks a person and causes serious physical injury or death or is declared vicious under this chapter (same requirements as dangerous dog, but gives the city the ability to remove the dog from the city or euthanize if ordered by a judge).
Limitations on animals
–Lodging establishment or nightly rentals: three dogs, three cats, three ferrets over the age of 120 days (limit of three total).
–Residences or apartments: four dogs, four cats over the age of 120 days (limit of four total).
“Right now we don’t have a way to say, ‘you’ve got 40 dogs in your house, it’s not safe’,” said Sergeant Kauffman. “With this new ordinance we (can) say ‘you can only have four’.”
“List of prohibited exotic animals, it’s pretty broad, anything outside of what you will get at your neighborhood pet store is pretty much illegal by the ordinance (it’s the venomous type animals),” said Chief Matthews.
–Animal control or law enforcement agencies or officers acting under the authority of this article.
–Licensed veterinary hospitals or clinics.
–Licensed or accredited research or medical institution.
–Licenses or accredited educational institution.
–Lawfully operated circus or rodeo.
–Business holding a commercial animal establishment permit.
–Organization that is an accredited member of the Animal Zoo and Aquarium Association
–Person or organization permitted by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missouri Dept. of Agriculture or Missouri Dept. of Conservation.
–Temporary custody or control of a television or motion picture company during an authorized filming
Temporarily transporting an exotic animal through the city if the transit time is not more than 24 hours and the animal is at all times maintained within confinement sufficient to prevent the exotic animal from escaping.