Friday, April 23, 2010

Owners will be penalized for not controlling their pets

Delta County Commissioners adopted a resolution concerning the control and licensing of dogs for unincorporated areas. Resolutions such as this one are usually preceded by complaints from the public of dogs running loose and generally being a nuisance in one form or the other.

The intent of the commissioners was that dog owners need to be responsible for their dog’s conduct and owners are to respect the right to health and safety of others in the community whether human or another animal. Owners are to be “held strictly liable for the conduct of their dogs which violate the provisions of this resolution.”

The district attorney’s office or the Delta County Attorney’s Office handles alleged violations of the resolution and ordinance. If the owner is found guilty of a violation not involving bodily injury, it’s a Class 2 petty offense punishable by a fine not more than $300 or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 90 days or both for each separate offense.

If there is a violation with a bodily injury, it’s a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by a minimum sentence of three months imprisonment or a $250 fine or both, and a maximum sentence of 12 months imprisonment or $1,000 fine, or both, for each separate offense. The violator will be issued a summons and complaint to appear in court.

In Delta County the animal control officer is the sheriff, undersheriff, deputies or any independent contractor approved by the commissioners.

The owner/caretaker of any dog is to have the dog licensed which requires being up to date on vaccines. A dog older than four months is to receive a rabies vaccination. The dog is to wear a collar with the dog tag. If the license is lost, a duplicate should be secured from the county. The license fee is waived for authorized police dogs, guide dogs and service dogs.

Dog bites are to be immediately reported to the sheriff’s department and to the Delta County Health Department. Any dog which is suspected of having rabies or any dog which has bitten a human will be confined and observed for a period of 10 days at an animal control facility.

Dogs are not allowed to “disturb the peace and quiet of any person by barking, whining, howling, yowling or making any other noise in an excessive, on-going or untimely fashion.” The animal control officer must receive a complaint about a particular dog from two persons who are unrelated and who live or work in different locations or if the officer receives one complaint and personally witnesses the disturbance. The owner/caretaker will receive a written warning. This does not apply to dogs located in a licensed kennel.

A dog is deemed a public nuisance when it is a safety or health hazard, damages or destroys the property of another, defecates upon private or public property, jumps on, or attempts to herd a person or persons, or that runs after and barks at horses, joggers, pedestrians, bicyclists or any vehicle being ridden or driven upon the roads. A dog is not allowed to chase or attack wildlife.

A vicious dog is one which when unprovoked, approaches any person, domestic animal, lifestock or wildlife in a terrorizing manner or in an apparent attitude of attack.

Pet owners are to provide sufficient good and wholesome food and water, proper shelter and protection from the weather, and veterinary care. No person shall beat, cruelly treat, torment, overload, overwork, otherwise abuse or needlessly kill a pet. No one shall transport or confine a pet in or upon any vehicle in a cruel or reckless manner. No pet owner/caretaker is to abandon animals or its offspring.

No person shall trap and relocate a pet other than an animal control officer or an individual or entity authorized to do so by the State of Colorado or the Board of County Commissioners. Animal control officers may take or capture animals and confine them in a humane manner. The officer may destroy the animal if necessary to avoid a physical threat to human beings.

If a dog is impounded, the owner is notified within 24 hours. Unclaimed animals will be kept at the animal control facility or other appropriate location for not less than five days after impoundment unless it is euthanized. Any owner/caretaker reclaiming an impounded animal will pay the impound fee plus a daily boarding fee. The owner/caretaker must present proof of the dog’s rabies vaccination. Any animal not reclaimed by its owner/caretaker within five days after impoundment will be transferred to another entity or agency for adoption or other “appropriate disposition.”


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