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Taylor pursues “animal control” measures

Alarmed by what is believed to be a growing problem of animal-related nuisances, Taylor’s city council made arrangements for the updating of their animal ordinance.

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The City of Taylor addressed animal ordinances related to vicious dogs. (Dickinson Press file photo)

Alarmed by what is believed to be a growing problem of animal-related nuisances, Taylor’s city council made arrangements for the updating of their animal ordinance. On March 8, Auditor Jeannette Buckman presented copies of the revised ordinance for reading and further revision.

“We got our first rough draft of our animal ordinance that we’re going to update...we’re just kinda reading through it, seeing if we like what they’ve sent and I guess we’ll throw up some discussion,” said Mayor Emory Vaagen.

Vaagen began the discussion with some concerns about how Taylor should handle diseased animals, due to the absence of municipal law enforcement.

Only under the supervision of a health officer or the chief of police can a diseased animal be taken from the owner’s property, according to the previous ordinance .

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The city council decided to expand the authority to the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, in contrast to Vaagen’s initial proposal of giving authorization to anyone on the city council in addition to the SCSO.

As far as licensing is concerned, the council decided to limit the duration of dog licenses to one year, forcing owners to renew each year. Owners must present proof of vaccinations in addition to a $10 licensing fee for every dog in their possession.

Former Mayor Russ Myran thought owners had always been required to present immunization records, but admitted it hadn’t really been followed.

Taylor’s neighbor to the east, Richardton, also requires owners to renew their dog or cat license each year with proof of vaccination.

“No dog or cat over a month of age shall be permitted to be or remain in the City without being licensed...It shall be the duty of the owner or keeper of any dog or cat...to have the dog or cat inoculated against rabies and proof thereof must be shown,” the ordinance says.

The penalty for violating any provision of the ordinance will result in a fine set by the city commission of Richardton.

Visitor and Kennel Owner Brett Gjermundson addressed the commission noting that certificates proving vaccinations highlight when the vaccination occurred, in addition to when further vaccinations are due.

Vaagen confirmed that dogs with extended vaccination durations will still have to present their certificate and pay the fee, but could present the same certificate as in previous years.

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Penalties were discussed when Auditor Jeanette Buckman asked about preventing repeat offenses.

“In the penalties, it says ‘each day violation continues shall be considered a separate violation,’ how about if it happens within two to three hours, they take it home and it comes out again and does the same thing?” Buckman asked.

Vaagen responded by saying it then becomes a fine up to $500 for each infraction, saying he believed $500 was enough to deter violators.

Should a dog bite somebody in the city of Taylor, the city will issue the owner or keeper a summons, summoning them to a hearing before the city council.

“We’re gonna say, ‘it’s been reported that your dog has bit somebody and you only have one more chance or we’ll destroy your dog or impound it,’” Vaagen said.

Vaagen confirmed that the city hasn’t been placed in a position to have to move in that drastic of a manner, though they have had some close calls. Vaagen and another council member spoke about a group of pit bulls that used to live in the city that bit a person, specifically Vaagen’s wife, Deb Vaagen.

More information concerning the water tower plans will be presented during the city council meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, April 12. An informational meeting regarding the water tower proposal will follow soon after the council meeting at around 7:30.

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