At the January meeting of the Greenwood City Council Monday the council was approached by Greenwood citizen Luke Gieschen concerning the recently enacted animal ordinance.
Gieschen asked for information as to how the council came to pass the current ordinance and he was directed to the city’s website (Greenwoodar.org/Government/Public-Documents) where all of the city’s agendas, minutes, ordinances and resolutions are online. In addition to their website meetings are posted on Youtube and the ordinance was posted in the paper as required by law on Dec. 14 of last year.
One of Gieschen’s concerns centered around the number of animals that you are allowed to have according to the ordinance, which is four. Animal Control Officer, Jerrod Ricketts, explained that while the limit of animals is four including dogs, cats, wolves, wolf-dog hybrids or ferrets that are four months of age or older without having obtained a special permit from the city.
Ricketts stated that any home with more than four animals can request a permit at which point he goes to the home and makes sure that it is safe for the animals as well as for the owners. If the permit is denied there is an appeal process. The denial can be appealed to the assistant chief of police, to the chief of police, to the mayor and finally to the city council at a scheduled meeting.
The current animal ordinance was passed in December. At that meeting aldermen voted to unanimously approve the ordinance which was designed to replace all existing animal ordinances on the books. Prior to the passage of this ordinance Greenwood had eight separate ordinances regarding animals.
Section 10 of the ordinance outlines the registration and tag process for Greenwood pet owners. The owner of every companion/domestic animal within the city limits of Greenwood, Arkansas is required to register such animals with the City of Greenwood. The registration will be an annual process renewable on Jan.1 through Mar. 1 of each year.
The proof of current Rabies vaccination will be required of all companion/domestic animals. In an effort to reduce and prevent the spread of disease, reduce the number of unwanted animals within the City of Greenwood and as an incentive to owners of domestic animals to have their animals micro-chipped, sterilized, and vaccinated.
There shall be no citation issued for failure to register an animal or display an animal registration tag from Jan.1 through Mar. 1 of each year. During that designated time period a warning may be issued. On or after Mar. 2, the Enforcement Agency shall review any warnings issued during that period to ensure compliance with this ordinance.
Animal registration for domestic animals residing within the city limits is mandatory. Such registration and the displayed tags are very important in getting lost animals back to their owner.
Tags may be obtained at the Greenwood Police Department through the Code Enforcement/Animal Control Officer, their designee or participating licensed veterinarian within the city limits of Greenwood, Arkansas. The fees and monies received under the provisions of this ordinance shall be paid to the City of Greenwood and will be used for defraying the cost incurred in connection with the initial and future implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this ordinance.
New residents will have 30 days to register any domestic animal. Failure to register a domestic animal within the proper time period may result in a fine and or a late registration fee, which will be 50 percent of the annual registration and tag fee.
The registration fees are as follows:
Micro Chipped and sterilized $5
Dangerous Domestic Animal $50
A Dangerous Animal is defined as: any domesticated animal that has been declared dangerous as a result of investigation by the Enforcement Agency/Authority its Officers and/or representatives acting alone or in consent with public health or public safety agencies because the domestic animal has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or inflicted an injury, severe injury or death of a human being or another animal or fowl whether on public or private property; or has been used primarily or in part for the purpose of domestic animal fighting or is a domestic/animal trained for fighting or has when unprovoked, chased or approached a human, animal or fowl upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds and schools in a menacing fashion, or displays an apparent attitude of attack, or previously injured or killed a human, animal or fowl.
For citizens 62 years or older the fees are as follows:
Micro Chipped and sterilized $1
Dangerous Domestic Animal $50
The ordinance was put together by Rick Gabbard, a reserve officer with the Greenwood Police Department, Will Dawson, Greenwood Chief of Police and Jerrod Ricketts, Animal Control Officer. The new ordinance will take effect on Jan. 1.