Casper City Council Consider New Animal Control, Care Ordinance
A high number of reported animal attacks has prompted Casper City Council to propose repealing and replacing the ordinance about animal care and control.
"I think the data is compelling and shows dangerous and overly aggressive animals have a very negative impact on our community," council member Chris Walsh wrote in a white paper.
"I have spoken with people who will not take their dog on a walk out of concern stemming from improperly cared for and restrained dogs," Walsh wrote. "I have talked with people who alter their daily walking or jogging routines to avoid dangerous animals. I know that mail delivery has been shut off to neighborhoods for weeks or months at a time because mail carriers cannot safely deliver mail in areas of town. This growing issue has to be confronted and the problems reversed."
At Tuesday's council work session, the white paper was discussed as was a proposed ordinance to repeal and replace the existing one about animal and care. You can view the proposed ordinance at the city's website. The website soon will have a line-by-line version of it and you can suggest revisions.
Walsh gathered data from Metro Animal Services (his wife is Metro's director) from Jan. 1, 2017 to June 27, 2018, that showed there were 721 reported animal attacks or bites that had occurred in Casper, or more than one per day.
Of that total, 539 were bites to people, many of whom required medial attention, concerns about rabies and quarantines for the animals, Walsh wrote. "Many of these attacks were unprovoked, unexpected and unwarranted."
The rest were animal-on-animal attacks, mostly dogs against dogs, he wrote. "An aggressive improperly restrained dog would attack the leashed pet and often kill, dismember or main the leashed pet and frequently the pet owner would be bitten and injured during the encounter."
City Attorney John Henley said after the work session some aspects of the proposed ordinance are the same as the existing one, such as requiring dog and cats being licensed and having rabies vaccinations.
The proposals target "animals at large," meaning those that are not restrained and causing many of the attacks, he said.
If someone has a vicious dog, that dog must be within a fenced area, Henley said. "So that even people coming on to your property, he or she can't get to you; and also that would prevent him or her from getting out."
The proposed ordinance says when an animal is not on the owner's property, the owner must be in control of the animal, usually by a leash, he said.
It also says that if a person leaves an animal in a vehicle, the animal must not be able to put its nose and mouth outside the window or the bed of a truck, Henley said. "So that people walking by don't get bitten, the mother of a baby doesn't have it bitten by a dog, startled, or something by this."
"We're hoping this will encourage people to be more constrained in how they let their animals run and how they control their animals; and we've also made a big effort to protect the animals, so we have a big provision on animal cruelty here," Henley said.
The proposed ordinance also emphasizes restrictions on tethering, because the city has received a lot of complaints from people who've seen animals tethered and being outside in puddles, without water, without shade, and without shelter in winter, he said.
Likewise, the proposed ordinance would prohibit tethering of puppies under six months, and prohibit tethering an animal for more than two hours at a time because that creates mean, vicious animals, Henley said.