City of Dickinson modifies pet ordinance

Joe Cianni
Interim Dickinson Police Chief Joe Cianni speaks during a previous city commission meeting.
Dickinson Press file photo
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DICKINSON — During a regular city commission meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 2, Dickinson city leaders discussed current and proposed animal control ordinances, their impact and municipal court prosecutions.

Pet regulations

The Animal Control Division of the Dickinson Police Department assists the Dickinson Animal Shelter, located at 3405 Public Works Blvd. Based on recommendations and guidance forwarded by the division, several changes were made to regulations regarding pet ownership within Dickinson City limits.

The shelter was previously bound to a minimum of a 10 day holding period, in which the owner could claim their pet before it would be put up for adoption. That period has been reduced to five days, which Interim Dickinson Police Chief Joe Cianni said mirrors outlines within the North Dakota Century Code.

“That actually gets them out a little sooner. We don’t have to retain them for that full 10 days,” Cianni said of abandoned pets.

The allowable combined number of animals, not including fish, for residents to have in their households was increased from three to four. Exceptions were made for those with pet related businesses, who must obtain a special use permit from the city.


Registration of microchips has been added as an acceptable alternative to licensing registration, and the punitive ramifications of failing to register an animal has been reduced from a misdemeanor charge to a $50 administrative fine.

The motion to approve these updates to the code was made in ordinance 1764, and passed by a unanimous vote of the commission.

Court report

City Attorney Christina Wenko delivered a report on municipal court prosecutions within the city and noted an increase in animal control related charges. According to Wenko, charges rose from 34 first nine months of 2021 to 46 for the same period of time in 2022.

“I attribute that to the work of the animal shelter and its employees,” she said. “We’re finding there’s a lot more diligent follow-up… I think they’re doing a really great job.”

Wenko said the court has also seen a historical spike in the number of domestic violence cases usually beginning in the winter season, and that she anticipates that increase to happen again this year.

Residents found guilty of an infraction will soon be able to make payments on their fines through an online system through the ND Courts website, Wenko said, noting that the system is tentatively projected to be available by December.

Wenko commended City Clerk of Court Amy Spangler for her leadership in the city municipal court system.

Other business

Fire Chief Jeremy Presnell provided his monthly report to the commission and highlighted the Dickinson Fire Department's 5,993 training hours completed to date in this year. Among the training hours the department undertook were topics related to hazardous materials, area familiarization, extrication, leadership and more.


Presnell said the month of October was a busy month for fire departments across the nation, and commended his department for their efforts in visiting approximately 3,000 school children during fire prevention week .

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
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