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Animal Ordinances in Emmetsburg

August 10, 2017
by Anna Veltri , Emmetsburg News

One of my primary reporting responsibilities at the newspaper is to cover Emmetsburg City Council meetings. Almost every meeting has contained a discussion on a city ordinance. As I've educated myself on the ordinances, I realized that perhaps the citizens of Emmetsburg may be unaware of the laws that govern the community, so I have decided to run a series of articles covering an ordinance or a grouping of ordinances over the next couple of months.

Chapters 55- 58 cover animal ownership in the town of Emmetsburg. Chapter 55 specifically addresses "Dogs, Cats and Domestic Animals." An important phrase to define as it pertains to this chapter is at large. At large "refers to any dog, cat or domestic animal running otherwise upon premises of its owner when the dog, cat or domestic animal is not attached to a leash held by a competent person, or restrained within a motor vehicle, or in an animal hospital or kennel."

According to the ordinance, no owner shall allow his or her dog, cat or other domestic animal to run at large in the City of Emmetsburg. As the definition explains, it is expected that these animals should be on a leash at all times, even on private property, unless restrained by a fence. This same section of the ordinance states that no owner shall allow his/her dog, cat or domestic animal to cause "serious annoyance or disturbance to any person by frequent and habitual howling, yelping, barking, or otherwise."

Chapter 55 continues to address animal waste. It is unlawful in the town of Emmetsburg to allow your animal to evacuate solid waste upon any public or private property in Emmetsburg without cleaning it up in a sanitary manner. Parks in Emmetsburg contain garbage cans where waste can be thrown away. This ordinance helps to keep Emmetsburg clean and sanitary.

If any person violates any part of this chapter, he/she could be convicted of a simple misdemeanor and subject to fines and penalties established in the code.

Chapter 56 in the Emmetsburg Book of Ordinances discusses dog licenses. In Emmetsburg, owners of dogs over the age of six months is expected to obtain a dog license from the City Clerk on or before May 1 of each year. Any license obtained after that date will be subject to a delinquent license fee. Upon receipt of the licensing documents, the City Clerk will issue the owner a metal tag that must be worn by the animal throughout the issuing year.

Section 56.3 states "all dogs six months or older shall be vaccinated against rabies. Before issuance of the license, the owner shall furnish a veterinarian's certificate showing that the dog for which the license is sought has been vaccinated against rabies, and that the vaccination does not expire within six months from the effective date of the dog license."

In Emmetsburg, it is unlawful to be in possession of a "dangerous animal." A dangerous animal is defined as "any animal which is not naturally tame or gentle, or which is of a wild nature or disposition, or which is capable of killing, inflicting serious injury upon human beings and having known tendencies, individually or as a species, to do so; or any animal which, because of its size or other characteristics would constitute a danger to human life or property." Dangerous animals include: bears, wolves, lions, tiers, panthers, elephants, bison, poisonous snakes and spiders, alligators, crocodiles, anacondas, pythons, boa constrictors and piranhas. These animals are not naturally tame and could pose a threat to the safety of members of the city. A dangerous animal could also be defined as any dog of the pit bull breed.

It is also against the code to own a "vicious animal" which includes any animal, which has bitten or clawed a person, or has attacked any domestic animal or fowl on two separate occasions within a 12-month period.

If a person is found in possession of any of these animals, the city will begin a process of seizing and impounding the animal which could result in destruction of the animal. A person has the opportunity to appeal the removal of the dangerous animal by written notice to the City Clerk within three days of receipt of notice from the city. Failure to comply with this ordinance constitutes a simple misdemeanor.



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