Council updates its animal ordinances

Police may go on to property to aid animal in imminent danger

The Town Council approved amendments to its animal ordinances. (Peter Wadsworth/Wikimedia Commons)

The Town Council approved amendments to its animal ordinances. (Peter Wadsworth/Wikimedia Commons)

The most and least common animal complaints

Here are the two most and the two least common animal complaints, according to Animal Control Officer Angela Olander.

Most Common

• Dog at large – 694 calls within the last year

• Animal noise/nuisance – 156 calls within the last year

Least Common

• Peacock in the road

• Livestock getting loose

Though council approved amendments to the animals section of its town code last week, one resident said she felt ignored during the process of rewriting the most controversial aspect to the amendments in a study session two weeks ago.

Last September, the Chino Valley Town Council looked at the amendments and referred them to a later study session following concerns by residents and councilmembers about possible Fourth Amendment violations. The concerns surrounded an added subsection dealing with emergency seizure of animals. At that time, Chino Valley Police Lieutenant Vince Schaan said it gave a peace officer or animal officer the ability to go onto someone’s property, seize and impound the animal if probable cause was present but the time needed to obtain a warrant might result in the death or inhumane suffering of the animal. Notice would have been provided to the owner that the act happened and the court would have been petitioned for a hearing to establish there was probable cause and no time to obtain the warrant, Schaan said.

Council was presented with a rewritten amendment at the Sept. 17 study session after he and Chino Valley Police Chief Charles Wynn met with council members, he said. An entire section was removed and the wording was changed and summarized to say that if a police officer or animal control officer sees an animal in imminent danger of death or inhumane suffering, they may provide emergency assistance as needed, Schaan said. One other section was changed to match the verbiage, he said.

“We got feedback, made some alterations based on that feedback,” Schaan said. “Short and to the point, gets across what we’re trying to accomplish here which is to help an animal in distress and from suffering and possibly dying if we can.”

Resident Debby Pomeroy thanked council for the changes, and she asked again whether the animal control officer would be trained in eminent danger and how to deal with a volatile situation in the case of going onto someone’s property.

There were still some other problems with the amendments as well, Pomeroy said. The section concerning injury by vehicle puts the public at risk by telling them to go identify the dog and call the owner and the designations of “dog at large” and aggressive dog should be separated instead of together, she said. The nuisance ordinances were taken out as well and not enough time was spent on barking dogs either, Pomeroy said.

“All the other cities and towns in the areas have defined the 10-minute limit on barking dogs,” she said. “That would be nice to bring back in and people would know how to stay within the law.”

While the above changes were made prior to the study session, it wasn’t put out to the public beforehand, said resident Donna Armstrong. As such, they didn’t know what the changes were and it left them wondering where to start, Armstrong said.

Following the council’s unanimous approval of the amendments at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 24, Armstrong said she felt ignored.

“I sent them a three-page email, giving them ideas of what could be improved and how they could do it rather than just griping. They didn’t do any of it,” Armstrong. “I was told by a couple councilmembers that it would not pass and they all voted for it. I think that they were trying to get me to shut up.”