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  • Animal rights ordinance passes at Mona City Council meeting

By Myrna Trauntvein
Times-News Correspondent

There were no objections at the Mona City public hearing addressing the new animal rights ordinance, so it was adopted in the council meeting following.

The council approved and voted in favor of adopting the new animal rights ordinance with the few changes, such as a progressive fine, that were mentioned at the hearing and during the deliberation.

At a previous hearing, the ordinance was vigorously opposed by a large number of residents, many of whom flocked to the hearing to state concerns they had with some of the parts of that suggested ordinance.

This time, there were only a handful of residents who turned out at the meeting.

“Based on the comments we received from the public, we chopped the ordinance back,” said Jeff Hearty, council member.

The new ordinance is designed to protect 4-H projects, farming and ranching within the city limits. The number of chickens allowed was removed and no quantifying number was listed.

The ordinance applies to all zones in the city.

“The purpose of this chapter is to ensure the protection of animal rights for the enjoyment of city residents while protecting adjoining property owners and ensuring the peaceful enjoyment of their property ownership, while maintaining the agricultural heritage, 4-H, and FFA traditions of Mona City. Livestock and all other agricultural animals/activities, unless specifically mentioned herein, are exempt from restrictions under this ordinance.’

Farm animals on residential lots are also addressed.

“No more than two hogs are allowed per .50 acre single family residential lot,” reads the ordinance. “All piglets resulting from the care and keep of the hogs should be disbursed within three months from birth.”

“Should I change the word ‘hog’ to ‘swine’ since hog is used for a male pig?” asked Hearty.

Those in the audience stated that the word hog would suffice for all swine. A hog often means a domestic pig that weighs more than 120 pounds but pigs are also called swine.

“We are also going to take out the reference to ‘teglis’ since not even Google knows what it is,” said Hearty.

The closest Google comes is the Argentine tegus. Tegus fill ecological niches similar to those of monitor lizards.

That section will now read: “It is unlawful for any person to possess as a ‘pet’ any living wild or dangerous animal as defined in this chapter within the city with exception to traditional livestock animals. Wild or dangerous animals include: poisonous or venomous reptiles, monitor lizards, snakes with a length greater than six-feet, crocodillians, poisonous or venomous spiders, scorpions, all species of non-human mammals except domestic dog, cat, ferret and rabbit. No more than four laboratory mice and rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and/or chinchillas.”

Mink are not allowed in any residential zoned area of the city.

“No ‘vicious animal,’ as such is defined in this chapter shall be kept or possessed in any non-agricultural zone, however, this subsection shall not apply to any animal kept or possessed in the city as part of any rodeo, circus, etc. for less than ten days.”

A blanket agricultural exemption regarding noise, odor, disturbances, etc. is ensured for all farm animals, livestock and agricultural activities within the city limits.

“Do we wish to include language regarding odor control?” asked Hearty.

Mills said he did not think that was necessary because that was addressed in the city’s nuisance ordinance.

Jonathan Jones, council member, said the council could add a sentence that the city would like animal owners to have a concern for their neighbors and take reasonable steps to be good neighbors.

“That depends on what ‘reasonable’ means,”said Frank Riding, council member.

Jones said that the city did have a nuisance ordinance and it did have language that could allow enforcement of that problem through the nuisance ordinance.

Jim Orten, resident, asked if the number of animals was being limited at all. For example, ten cows on one acre was a large amount.

Hearty said that the only limitation being placed was on the number of swine allowed. He knew people who had ten horses on a half acre. Would he personally do that? No.

Orten said that the ordinance referred to household pets, defined as small animals and fowl kept in residential single family homes, as being secured. Did that refer to dogs?

“To the extent reasonably possible, animals or fowl must be kept in pens, or otherwise secured on the owner’s property unless housed within the dwelling unit,” is the exact wording.

“You went to all this work to keep it simple,” said Mills.

Orten agreed that the council should keep it simple.

The next question was whether the fine should be added to after the first warning and fine were ignored by the property owner.

“Do we wish to go progressive on the fine?” asked Hearty.

Riding said he thought that the warning, of course, should come first and then a $50 fine should be imposed.

The ordinance, as written, said that a person in violation, should be given 30 days to come into compliance. After 30 days, the fine should be $50 per month until the property was brought into compliance.

Jones said that would mean that the first month after the warning period would be $50, the next $100, the third month would be $150, the fourth would be $200.

“You can go too high,” said Mills. “Pretty soon, the city would own the property. I would like to see a cap.”

Orten said he agreed that the property owner should not have to pay $1,000, but he did think that $300 would be a good maximum fine.

“After six months,” said Riding, “we would take legal action.”

“Who would be the watch dog?” asked Lyla Spencer, city clerk/recorder.

Mills said he thought the city should get a nuisance officer.

However, the city council could get together and vote as a council on what should be done with those who were a continual problem.