Election Central

Caldwell overhauls animal control ordinance, including definitions of cruelty and abuse

Caldwell officials this week approved numerous¬† changes to the city’s animal control ordinance, including new definitions for abuse, cruelty, service animal and vicious animal.

“Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not quality as service animals under the ADA,” the revised code says under “service animal.”

Previously, the city code did not specifically prohibit leaving unattended animals in vehicles in extreme temperatures. It also did not make owners of seized animals liable for the costs of their care.

“It was mainly a cleanup process,” Caldwell Police Lt. Dave Wright said of the code update. But it will also allow for prosecutions in cases that previously had to be dropped.

“If we wanted to charge someone, and we didn’t feel it met the state code. We had nowhere else to go with it,” Wright said. He said the city looked at ordinances across the Valley.

Additions and amendments to Ordinance 2950. (Read the full ordinance at the link at the bottom).

ABUSE: Any case in which an animal has been victim of an intentional or negligent conduct resulting in the animal’s bruising, malnutrition, dehydration, burns, fractures, or breaks of bones, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling or death and lack of veterinary care or attention.

CRUELTY: “Cruel” or “cruelty” shall mean any or all of the following: the intentional and malicious infliction of pain, physical suffering, injury or death upon an animal; to maliciously kill, maim, wound, overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, overwork, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance, drink or shelter, cruelly beat, mutilate or cruelly kill an animal; subject an animal to needless suffering, inflict unnecessary cruelty, drive ride or otherwise use an animal when the same is unfit; to abandon an animal; or to negligently confine an animal in unsanitary conditions or to negligently house an animal in inadequate facilities; to negligently fail to provide sustenance, water, shelter, veterinary care to an animal; or to negligently fail to provide routine care, grooming or hoof care to the extent that it interferes with the animal’s performance or ability to thrive.

The term “guide canine or assistance dog” was removed, and the term “service animal” was added.

Here’s the full definition:

SERVICE ANIMAL: A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are work animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to a person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not quality as service animals under the ADA.

VICIOUS ANIMAL: (1) Any animal, when unprovoked, in a vicious or terrorizing manner, approaches any person in apparent attitude of attack up the streets, sidewalks and public grounds or places or private property not owned or possessed by the owner of the animal.

(2) Any animal with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings, domestic animals or livestock;

(3) Any animal which bites inflicts injury, assaults or otherwise attacks a human being domestic animal or livestock without provocation; or

(4) Any animal owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or any animal trained for fighting.

Notwithstanding the definition of “vicious animal” above, no animal may be declared vicious if an injury or damage sustained by a person who, at the time such injury or damage was sustained, was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner of the animal or was teasing, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the animal or was committing or attempting to commit a crime. No animal may be declared vicious if it was protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the animal from an unjustified attack or assault.

FEES: If any animal is seized under this ordinance, the owner or keeper shall be liable for the reasonable costs of the seizure and the care, keeping and disposal of the animal. Reasonable costs shall include, but shall not be limited to, transportation, medical, board, shelter and farrier costs. The owner or keeper of the animal shall be responsible for such fees and costs whether or not the owner recovers possession of said animals or whether said animal is adopted.

Read the full Animal Control Ordinance: ORD 2950


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