Dog, cat ordinance heads back to drawing board
A proposed ordinance on Carson City animal services, including fees and how many dogs or cats are allowed in one place, seemed like a dog chasing its tail Thursday.
For the second time, the Board of Supervisors held a hearing on a draft proposal but sent those crafting it back to the drawing board. Supervisors had questions and suggestions, prompting City Manager Larry Werner to say a vote on first reading action should wait.
“We need to get it right,” he said, noting the suggested amendments were substantial. He also said the state has a proposed bill redefining a vicious dog, so that might require consideration.
The draft called, among other things, for a $50 permit fee for more than three dogs or cats over six months in one place. It also sought doubling of possible fines for vicious dog incidents that reach court conviction, to $1,000 per incident.
While the ordinance went back to the drawing board, what came off another drawing board and into the supervisors’ view was a different but related matter. It is a $3.9 million animal shelter plan.
Dave Gasser of BDA Architecture made a PowerPoint presentation on animal shelter plans calling for 11,446 square feet of space for 134 dogs, 108 cats and seven exotic animals that would include a spay-neuter clinic.
“We definitely want to promote adoption in this facility,” he said, so it was designed with that in mind. He said adoption areas include indoor-outdoor runs and separate places for dogs and cats.
Gasser said a fundraising group was trying to raise half the money needed to build the structure.
Lisa Schuette of Carson Animal Services Initiative said the group would do all it can, but still hopes for city help.
“Absolutely CASI will raise $4 million if we can,” she said, but didn’t give up on the 50/50 split.
Mayor Robert Crowell said there wouldn’t be an affirmative vote on such a plan Thursday, in part because “money’s hard to come by,” yet he encouraged Schuette.
“You have a pretty receptive audience,” he said.
It was the earlier animal services ordinance, however, that took up the most time Thursday because of supervisors’ concerns.
When the first draft came to them in November, testimony and discussion took three hours.
That prompted Supervisor John McKenna to seek, and later attend, a public forum workshop held by city Health and Human Services staff. The draft Thursday incorporated much of what came out in that forum, but McKenna and others still want fine-tuning.
Thursday there was some testimony, including praise from Gil Yanuck that the ordinance included what he called teeth for vicious dog violations.
Supervisor Brad Bonkowski read a letter from Candy Roper of the Bonanza Kennel Club still questioning the three dog, three cat minimum. It said saying the six months maximum doesn’t allow sufficient time for breeders to determine if puppies are of dog show potential.
McKenna and Bonkowski wanted the fee schedule separate from the ordinance, Bonkowski saying every change shouldn’t have to come back before supervisors.
Marena Works, director of the Health and Human Services Department that handles animal control, said her staff needed fees particularly, along with some other changes, and consensus was that staff would return with a stripped down proposal.
Meanwhile, Werner said, city staff would set another meeting later for the board because of the other issues of concern to supervisors.