Animal control ordinance approved

An amended animal control ordinance for the City of Borger has been approved.During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Borger City Council approved the ordinance on final reading, along with a resolution establishing a schedule of fees, costs, charges, and expenses related to the ordinance.Eddie Edwards, Borger City Manager, said over the last several months, city staff has researched animal control ordinances of various cities throughout the state. According to Edwards, the city has put together a comprehensive ordinance that it believes clearly defines and fairly regulates the keeping of animals within the city limits and the ETJ.“This ordinance is designed to logically flow beginning with the purpose and definitions,” he said. “The ordinance clearly establishes both the animal control authority, the local rabies animal control authority, and defines the duties and enforcement authority.”It introduces registration and permitting in certain instances pertaining to dangerous animals, horses, livestock, and/or other animals, as well as multi-animal permitting on a case-specific basis. This pertains to the harboring of more than four animals per location.“While we tend to think of ordinances are to protect health, safety, and welfare of humans, this ordinance also provides for animal protection as well,” Edwards said. “More often than not, our animal control officers see many types of animal neglect, abuse and/or outright cruelty.”Should the neglect or abuse not rise to the level of a state statute, the city has previously not been able to act on the animal’s behalf. The ordinance also covers rules pertaining to dangerous animals in detail, rabies, and impoundment and commercial animal enterprises.During a work session last October, the council decided to hold a public hearing before the proposed animal control ordinance was introduced to give the public time to express its views. The council also had staff place this ordinance on the City of Borger web site, as well as a schedule of events for adopting the ordinance.In early November, the council conducted the public hearing and heard various comments on the ordinance. There were some positive comments voiced, but other members of the public took issue with parts of the proposed ordinance.Edwards said throughout the past few weeks since the public hearing, city staff has addressed many of the issues that were brought up during the hearing. As a result, the ordinance has been modified in various areas, including rabies vaccinations, quarantines, commercial animal enterprises, and entry onto private property.Other areas brought up by the public were modifying the running at large rule as it pertains to cats, definitions of harboring and ownership, and strict liability. These have not been changed, Edwards said.“Under the current definitions of harboring and ownership, animal control officers have repeatedly encountered difficulty in resolving animal ordinance issues,” he said. “Staff continues to believe that these sections and specifically the more restrictive harboring and ownership sections of the ordinance will enable the animal control officers to better address both the rights of the animal owner and the rights of adjacent or nearby property owners who might be aggrieved by an animal nuisance.”In terms of fees, costs, charges, and expenses covered under this ordinances, they are as follows:Impoundment fees – First offense - $30; Second offense - $40; Third offense - $80; Subsequent offenses - $80; Livestock or swine – actual costsPermit fees – Temporary - $25; Multiple pet - $25; Fowl and Rabbit - $25Animal Enterprise Permits – Temporary - $25; Annual - $25Dangerous Animal Registration - $25Adoption Fee - $25Quarantine Fee - $25Daily boarding - $10Rabies Vaccination/Sterilization – The animal control authority will from time to time make arrangements with a local and licensed veterinarian to administer vaccinations and perform sterilizations for an agreed amount, which will be collected at the time of redemption (vaccination only) or adoption (both vaccination and sterilization).The owner may then have that veterinarian perform the services upon presentation of the receipt from the Animal Control Authority, or have a different veterinarian perform the services at the owner’s expense and present the paid receipt for those services to the Animal Control Authority for a refund of the amounts collected for those services.