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Supervisors ask departments to draft revisions to animal control ordinances

July 5, 2018

KINGMAN — Mohave County supervisors on Monday discussed possible changes to the county ordinance dealing with animal control.

The supervisors heard a presentation by Deputy Mohave County Attorney Ryan Esplin, who explained that there are three ordinances including animal control, which is a law enforcement function dealing with animal cruelty. There also is a public health ordinance and a zoning ordinance dealing with land use.

Esplin gave an example of a definition of a kennel, which can have different meanings under each of the three ordinances. A 1994 ordinance deals with just dogs while a 2007 ordinance deals with dogs, cats or other animals.

A 2015 ordinance deals with dogs older than 4 months old. That ordinance states that a kennel permit cannot be issued to someone convicted of animal cruelty. Ideally, all three ordinances should work together, Esplin said.

The prosecutor also said animal control officers are permitted to seize animals under state law and the county ordinance. Ordinances also regulate dogs that may be running loose or barking excessively.

Esplin said animal control complaints are criminal issues that should be litigated in court and appeals should be brought back to the court to rule on.

Jacquelyn Chevalier, of Golden Valley, said she did not give permission for animal control officers to enter her home after an incident in December. Her dogs were seized and adopted out even before her court hearing. She said the animal control ordinances need to be changed to match state law.

Steve Robinson, of Golden Valley, said complaints about animal cruelty or other animal issues must be made in writing. He argued that the government can’t come into a private home, based on the Fourth Amendment.

Robinson said the incident in December was not the same as an animal abuse case that occurred several years ago, also in Golden Valley.

The board voted to have the county departments that deal with animal control, including public health and the sheriff’s office, meet and bring back to the board possible changes to the county ordinance.

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