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Changes expected before 2nd reading of Kennel Ordinance

By Pen Waggener

At their July 13 meeting, the Adair County Fiscal Court heard the first reading of a proposed new ordinance that could "establish standards for the purchase of dog and kennel licenses and to the control of dogs and cats" within Adair County." It appeared on the agenda as Item 10-C, "Cat Ordinance B Discussion".

The proposed ordinance would give the Fiscal Court authority to approve of the design of kennel and cattery facilities, and to impose daily fines when certain standards of care aren't met. As the first draft was written, it would require licenses for anyone with more than 10 dogs, 10 cats, or 10 cats and dogs in combination.

According to Adair County Attorney Jennifer Hutchison-Corbin, the ordinance came about in part because of multiple complaints received by county officials about a property in a local subdivision, and because of an animal cruelty case in March in which 150 animals were seized from a residence in the county.

The ordinance was drafted for Adair County using some general ideas and definitions from similar measures already enacted in Shelby County, Bourbon County, Pendleton County and Jefferson County.

Click here for the full text of the proposed ordinance as it was read at the July 13 meeting: 20210719152437010-Kennel-Ordinance (PDF)

In the week since the meeting, we've received a lot of letters from citizens who would be affected by the proposed ordinance (we'll post some select ones in coming days). Concerns include the fees involved, what number of animals should require a license, and whether county efforts might be better invested in a "Trap, Neuter, Return" program to control cat populations.

Hutchison-Corbin said, "The goal when reading through these ordinances and drafting an ordinance for Adair County was not to infringe on citizens' rights regarding family pets or even the breeding of animals for resale. The goal was to make sure that animals are properly cared for and that they do not create a nuisance to neighbors."

Adair County Magistrate Daryl Flatt, District 2, said that the first draft of the ordinance was "meant as a starting point, and nothing is set in stone at this point." He said that when Magistrates began receiving complaints about cats in a local subdivision, he had been told that there was nothing on the books that could be used to address the issue, and wanted the county to have tools for this sort of thing in the future.

The ordinance could be voted on at the second reading at the August 10 meeting, but Flatt doesn't anticipate it being passed until some questions are answered, and he says "there's lots still to be addressed." His concerns include who and how the ordinance would be enforced, and whether the dog warden could be named as an official Animal Control Officer. Flatt said also that he didn't intend for the ordinance to tell people how many animals they could have, or to have the county interfere with well-run breeding operations or farms that might have barns full of cats to help with pest control.

Flatt also said he was open to wording that would make the ordinance apply "by complaint only," like the recently passed Nuisance Ordinance.

Adair County Judge Executive Gale Cowan says the ordinance is not on the agenda for the Tuesday, July 27, meeting, unless someone brings it up in other business. She plans to talk with Magistrates about the ordinance before the scheduled second reading at the Tuesday, August 10, Fiscal Court meeting. She said, "I think it will have to be looked at again with several changes."

All local officials encouraged concerned citizens to attend the August 10, 2021, Adair County Fiscal Court meeting to discuss the proposal.

This story was posted on 2021-07-26 14:17:21
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