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  • Large crowd airs concerns over proposed animal ordinance in Mona


By Myrna Trauntvein
Times-News Correspondent

A public hearing drew more than 35 people, some of them young scout-age boys, to Mona City Hall on Tuesday.

Most had comments, some pro and some against adoption of the proposed animal ordinance which had been mailed to all city residents.

Jonathan Jones, mayor pro tempore (Greg Newton, mayor, was excused because of illness), said that he wanted to thank those who had taken time to attend the meeting that evening.

He said he was grateful for the input of the citizens of the community and of the council in working through several proposed drafts until the one being presented for consideration was settled on as the draft to mail to residents.

“We will not make any decisions tonight,” said Jones. “We will take public comment tonight into consideration.”

He said that Mona was a young and growing community and that council members were trying to find a way to protect residents and still support the agricultural roots of the city.

Residents were given a timed two minutes at the microphone.

Doug Anderson, Juab County Sheriff, was asked to comment. He said that drafting an ordinance was a big task.

“In law enforcement, our scope is public safety,” said Anderson. “We do enforce ordinances if passed. Sometimes the state statute is better.”

In those cases, law enforcement used the state statute. State statutes cover sanitation, contagious disease, dog attacks, any risk to human life. Livestock owners can defend their livestock by statute.

Some cases were handled by screening through the county attorney’s office.

In Utah, a nuisance is anything which is injurious to health, indecent, offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.

Property in the agricultural area is protected.

Boy Scouts Aiden Wagner and McCallister Knighton supported an ordinance.

“I don’t think that if you screwed up three times in one year,” said Cody Adams, “that you should lose your privileges. I don’t think it should be that permanent.”

In the spirit of forgiveness, he thought that residents should be put on probation for perhaps a two year revocation.

Dan Woodland, livestock owner, said he would ask the council to consider grandfathering in livestock uses.

“Livestock is an exempt use,” said Molli Graham, city council member.

Then he could be a happy man, said Woodland.

Diana Manseau, was on the agenda and said she had requested that to talk about animal rights. She asked for, and was granted, more minutes to address the council for that reason.

“I am not here in a contentious manner,” she said. “We have lived in Mona for 18 years.”

She said that the ordinance did address pens, birds and dogs but did not address cats, probably because they were harder to control. However, she lived near a house with 30 cats and she was allergic.

“We usually plow under our animal waste,” she said.

When it came to forbidden animals, said Manseau, she and her family, from time to time, had picked up wildlife animals, with the permission of Wildlife Management, and had rehabilitated the animals and that should be addressed.

Alisha Peacock said that Nephi had fines for animal ordinance infractions and that the revenue would help Mona if they instituted fines.

Jones said that several people had leaned toward that on their returned comments. People thought the fines needed to be progressive: a first fine would be less than a third fine, for example.

“You guys are amazing,” Peacock said.

Her concern was that problems could be caused by “disgruntled neighbors” who would complain over and over again.

Joe Bennett said his concern was the limit placed on fowl. He used fowl to train dogs for professional hunting which was his business. He would take the birds out to the fields to train the dogs.

“It is difficult to get them in lots of less than 100 chicks,” he said.

Hillary Payne said she did not think Mona needed an animal ordinance above what the county already had. Cities have smaller lots and that smaller size is easier to fence. Requiring fenced yards would be a burden to many living in Mona.

She said that 50 percent of residents had dogs and probably only 50 percent of those had fences.

Scout Hunter Hansen said that he liked chickens and there had been an incident where a dog killed his chicken. His brother Ben said he thought that hyper dogs should be in a pen.

“We only need six more people to vote to not have the ordinance and we can scratch it,” said Molli Graham, council member.

She said 14 of the respondents had wanted a modified ordinance and eight had not wanted one. Six more votes against adopting and ordinance would mean a tie and seven votes would mean that the no ordinance people would win.

Jim Orten said that right now, the lack of an ordinance, would mean that someone could have a rat farm in the backyard.

Right now, the city has a mink farm in the backyard, said Jones.

“The city has a ton of dog problems,” said Graham.

Bennett said the idea of having a rat farm in Mona, in his opinion, was a scare tactic.

However, Dalton said that was not the case. She had taken the phone call from someone who wanted that. She had been told that those interested in the venture were just calling all towns to find out which ones did not have an ordinance that would forbid it.

“Our country and state is run with laws,” said Bill Mills. “I don’t see in the ordinance where you have to fence your yard.”

However, an ordinance was needed to help provide needed controls. At one time, he said, the city had had a problem with pigs being raised along Main Street.

Peacock said that a neighbor had a dog that loved people but she did not want the dog on her yard. The problem with the proposed ordinance was the penalty. She did not want neighbors given the authority to complain and complain and cause grief.

“Animals are nuisances,” she said. “They stink. They bark.”

Cindy Orten said that an ordinance should protect everyone.

“My cats stay indoors,” she said. “There needs to be an ordinance. There needs to be a penalty.”

Without a penalty, an ordinance had no teeth.

Clark Anderson said that he had come to Mona because of the culture that allowed animals. He wondered if there was a way to still allow residents freedom. He thought that could be done by taking the outliers from the equation.

Robert Williams said he lives outside city boundaries but thought a lot of the animal issues could be addressed in the business license process rather than in an animal ordinance.

Molly Watkins said that the majority of people who move into Mona do so because they like the small town agricultural aspect. She said that people do need to do their best to keep their animals from being a nuisance and that they should do all they could to be neighborly.

Jeff Walker said that he moved to Mona because it was small. Limiting birds would not solve the problem.

“Regulation should go toward who is making the problem,” he said.

“We have to rely on law enforcement,” said Wes Dudley.

If a penalty were instituted, he asked, what would be the due process? He said that county laws were strict and did govern the county.

Glenn Gooch said he had lived in Mona for 44 years. People came to Mona and then wanted it to be like the place they came from. They wanted to make it a city.

“My biggest gripe is the people who move here,” he said. “If they don’t like it here, they should go back to where they came from.”

Several thought that there should be a differentiation between commercial and residential uses.

Manseau said that when she moved to Mona, she was raising dogs and had to get a commercial license. That was a business and she thought that when a commercial business wanted to locate in Mona they should have to come before the council.

Susan Newell said that her grandson was attacked by a German Shepherd and had required stitches. She was told that Mona had more dog bites than Nephi and Levan together. She was also told that dogs in Mona got three chances before something was done.

She did not think that was adequate.