By DREW MARTIN

Members of the Montgomery City Council held an ad hoc committee meeting on October 27th to consider updates to the city’s animal ordinance. Councilwoman Marché Johnson said she wanted to have the meeting because, “the ordinance hasn’t been updated in a long time.”

During the meeting, which also included police officers and representatives from the Montgomery humane society, the committee looked at several areas of the ordinance that they feel should be updated. These areas included animal cruelty, illegal breeding and dogs running at large, among several other topics.

The current ordinance says that an owner must provide an animal with food, water and shelter but the committee wants to expand on the definitions of these. The proposed language states “clean, fresh potable water and food” shall be provided and in amounts “adequate” to the size of the animal. The shelter provided for an animal was also discussed and the new ordinance defines this as structurally sound, moisture proof and windproof shelter large enough to keep the animal. The shelter will be required to have four sides, a roof and floor. Shelter representatives proposed that a “tarp strung between two trees” is not acceptable.

The proposed changes also include upgrading the charge for intentional abuse of an animal from a misdemeanor to a class C felony, though the charge for neglect would remain a misdemeanor. City attorney Stacy Bellinger said that because animal cruelty is covered under state law it is acceptable to apply the felony charge.

There was also discussion about people selling dogs in parking lots and on sidewalks throughout the city and breeding animals without the required permit. The updates seek to make it illegal for anyone to “sell, give, barter or trade” an animal on any street or other public place, although selling or giving away animals on private property is not mentioned.

The committee is also looking to expand the list of requirements for individuals to obtain a permit for breeding animals. In the proposal the annual fee for a permit would increase from $20 to $150 and the applicant must have a business license, insurance and veterinary records for all animals; all are things not currently required under the ordinance

Several other topics, such as the definition of a “vicious” animal were discussed at the meeting and the committee plans to meet again to iron out further details of the updated ordinance before bringing it to the full council for consideration.

Source: https://www.montgomeryindependent.com/news/committee-discuses-increasing-fines-fees-and-regulations-regarding-animals-and-pets/article_197af5ea-3be4-11ec-a182-b3b40ff4883b.html

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