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City Council holds off on changing animal ordinance

November 8, 2018

DIXON – The City Council is holding off on making changes to its animal ordinance and wants staff to enforce existing violations from a resident housing a donkey, mini horse and a humped cattle called a zebu in a small yard.

The council started reviewing its animal ordinance last month after receiving several complaints about Kelley Thies’ animals at 623 Nachusa Ave. and concerns that it wasn’t adequate space for the animals.

Thies, a wildlife rehabilitator at Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center in Durand, spoke to the council in October and said he has housed a variety of animals for the last 19 years that he uses to educate visitors and children, and he planned to build a 10-by-20-foot shed to house them.

According to the animal code, animals must be at least 20 feet away from any dwelling.

The violations in question were that the animal enclosure is too close to three houses, there are animal trailers parked in the yard and right of way, and Thies, who also has chickens, is selling eggs, which isn’t permitted at a residentially zoned property.

City Building Official Paul Shiaras told the council Monday that Thies built the shed, but it still violates the 20-foot rule, and two trailers are still parked in the grass and right of way.

Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said at a bare minimum, they should enforce the existing ordinance violations, and Councilman Kevin Marx agreed.

Councilman Ryan Marshall said they shouldn’t allow cattle within city limits, and Councilman Dennis Considine said they need to set a limit on the number of chickens a resident can have.

The city’s ordinance doesn’t specifically prohibit many animals but generally doesn’t allow for those that are especially noisy, like crowing roosters, or dangerous.

Residents can’t have swine within city limits with exception to having up to three Vietnamese potbellied pigs if they are enclosed and follow other rules in the code.

City Manager Danny Langloss said they need to contact Thies and create a timeline to get into compliance.

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