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Council increases dog license fees, animal at large fines

The Mobridge City Council, Tuesday, Oct. 9, approved several changes to the animal ordinance that will put more responsibility for the care and safety of their animals on the owner.
City of Mobridge Ordinance 971 sets by resolution the fees to be charged for dog licensing and impound fines. License fees for spayed or neutered dogs will increase by a dollar, to $5 per year.
The annual fee to license an intact dog will be $10. The late fee for any dog not licensed by Feb. 1 of each year was set at $100 charged in addition to the license fees.
The fine for any dog or cat running at large and impounded was set at $25 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $500 for each subsequent offense, in addition to any veterinary services and boarding costs incurred during the impounding of the animal.
Ward I Councilwoman Jade Mound disagreed with the fine structure, saying the $100 late fee for licensing a dog was a bit excessive. She said with three dogs, if she forgot about licensing her pets, the $300 fine would discourage her from getting them licensed.
“I think it is an incentive not to get license and take your chances,” she told the council. “The late fee is high but the fine (for adog running at large) is too low.”
She suggested switching the fines, with the dog running at large being the higher ($100) fine.
Mayor Gene Cox told the council the city starts issuing licenses in November, giving residents three months to get those dogs licensed. He said there are large numbers of dogs within the city limits with less than 200 licensed.
“We have a problem with people failing to license their dogs,” he said.
Ward I Councilman Tom O’Connell suggested that the council table the setting of fees until they had a chance to get input from Mobridge Chief of Police Shawn Madison and Ordinance Officer Cindy Rische.
Cox said they would revisit it at the next meeting, but thought the ordinance should be passed as presented.
It was approved as presented.
In a related issue a contract between the City of Mobridge and Oahe Veterinary Hospital was presented that set the rates paid by the city at $250 a month for the use of the facility for a city pound. The fee for housing impounded animals increased to $10 per day for three days. The contract also states that if the owner has not claimed the animal at the end of the three days, the city may instruct that the animal be euthanized. The cost of euthanizing will be paid by the city Mobridge, which will also be responsible for the cost of disposal of the animal.
The city will be responsible to construct a new building in which the impounded dogs will be housed on the property at the vet hospital. The impounded animals disturb the other animals being treated at the facility.
The building would be heated and have a water source. The staff of the vet hospital would still care for the animals, but they would not be housed in the hospital.
The monthly $250 rental fee would be waived at that time.

Water service fees
The council also approved setting water fees by ordinance and changed the current fees for water services (not water provided to buildings). These are fees for turning water on or off. During business hours the fee was set at $50 with the fee for turning water on or off during non-business hours shall be $100.00, the fee for reading meters during business hours was set at $30 and the fee for reading meters during non-business hours will be $60.

Ordinance questions
Rische presented her quarterly nuisance report to the council, reporting that dog issues were most numerous of all the nuisance calls. She also reported that in dealing with nuisance issues, she sometimes has to deal with property owners up to three times before she gets results.
Ward III Councilman Randy Carlson asked why it takes that much work for her to get results.
Rische said that is how the process works. She said some property owners do not live in the city and that causes problems with getting them to take care of the property.
Carlson asked if there were someway for the city to force property owners to take care of their property, whether it be fines or a threat of a court appearance.
Cox said he would like to take this issue back to the nuisance committee g=for suggestions before the council makes any decision about changing the process.
The issue will be addressed at a future meeting.
– Katie Zerr –