City considering changes to animal control ordinance

Officials seeking opinions from the public prior to passageThe City of Borger is considering changes to its animal control ordinance. However, before these changes are made, it is seeking input from the public regarding these pending changes.Eddie Edwards, Borger City Manager, said that in order to allow ample time for public comment, the city council will conduct a public hearing on the proposed Animal Control Ordinance at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011.Those wanting to read the ordinance in its entirety can find it on the City of Borger web site at city council will consider introduction of the proposed animal control ordinance at its regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 15, 2011. Edwards said the council’s consideration on final approval of the ordinance is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 6, 2011.The intent and purpose of the ordinance is to provide a safe and healthy environment within the City of Borger for both people and animals. However, the ordinance also comes with the recognition that while people may own and keep animals within the city, the conduct of those animals should be controlled for public safety. The conditions in which they are kept should be appropriate as to protect the animals and avoid infringement on the peace and enjoyment of surrounding property, homes, and property owners.The ordinance may be enforced by animal control officers, animal control technicians, animal control veterinary conditions, peace officers, and any such other persons as designated by the Borger Chief of Police.Those authorized to enforce the ordinance may issue citations for violations of the ordinance. The power and authority will exist regardless of whether the animal made the subject of the citation has been impounded.An issue addressed in this ordinance is running at large. A person commits an offense if he owns, keeps, harbors, or otherwise has control over any animal within the city and allows the animal to run or be at large on any public highway, street, alley, court, square, park, or sidewalk. This also covers any other public or private grounds not owned by the animal’s owner or property within the corporate limits of the city.An animal, which is off the premises of its owner, will be deemed to be running at large under circumstances where the animal is not either restrained by means of a leash, chain, or other physical restraint of sufficient strength to control the animal while off the premises of its owner.This also covers circumstances of the animal not being under the immediate control of the owner or other responsible person present with the animal and immediately obedient to that person’s commands.An animal will also be classified as running at large, on its owner’s premises, under circumstances where the animal is not confined within a secure enclosure or is not restrained by a leash, rope, chain, or other tethering device sufficient to restrain the animal to the owner’s premises.Another condition in which an animal falls under this stipulation is if the animal is left unattended in a motor vehicle or the bed of a pickup truck and is not tethered or confined so as to prevent the animal from exiting the vehicle of its own volition or posing a risk to passerby.The following conditions will not constitute an animal running at large, either on or off the premises of its owner:*If the animal is physically held by the owner or other responsible person of competent strength*If the animal is in the immediate presence of the owner or other responsible person and is immediately obedient to that person’s command*If the animal is confined within a motor vehicle or secured within the confines of the bed of the pickup truck in such manner that it cannot exit the vehicle by its own volition.Animal control authorities may impound any animal observed to be at large, whether the animal is on public or private property not owned by the animal’s owner. If the authority observes an animal to be at large and observes the same animal to return to the property of its owner, he or she may impound the animal for the observed violation and may issue a citation to the owner for the animal running at large.Authorities are specifically authorized to enter onto private property, other than a private dwelling, for the purpose of impoundment of an animal observed to be or to have been running at large or for the purpose of issuing a citation to the owner of the animal or both.There will be continued coverage of the proposed animal control ordinance throughout this week’s editions of the Borger News-Herald.People with any suggestions, comments, or concerns can contact Animal Control Supervisor Betsy Parks at the City of Borger Animal Shelter or at 806-273-0973 during normal business hours.