Is the city’s animal control officer allowed to write citations for people in violation of the city’s Animal Control Ordinance?
According to city attorney Tim Pirtle, he is.
“Yes, the municipal code chapter two on dogs, which provides for the licensing, confinement on your own property, impoundment of dogs running at large, gives the rabies control officer or other title used, here it’s the animal control officer, the authority to write citations and summonses,” said Pirtle.
The section states, “The rabies control officer is hereby granted authority to issue citations and summonses and serve warrants for violations of this chapter ...”
Under violations, the section states, “Anyone found to be in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
McMinnville Public Works director Bill Brock, who oversees Animal Control, says he and McMinnville Police Chief Brian Denton have been told by the city court judge the animal control officer cannot issue citations.
The city’s animal control officer is David Denton.
“He said we had to get someone to sign the paperwork on bringing people to court, that we couldn’t issue them,” said Brock.
Denton agreed with Brock’s statement, but Pirtle did not.
“Clearly this chapter gives the animal control officer the authority to issue citations and summonses, specifically,” said Pirtle.
The citation situation came to light during a follow-up discussion by the Streets and Sanitation Committee regarding chickens and roosters within the city limits and what to do about those that have become a nuisance.
Pirtle says the ordinance allows people to have them, however, they are prohibited from running at large.
“It is not unlawful to own fowl in the city limits, but it is unlawful to allow them to run at large,” he said. “You can have chickens fenced in on your property. You just can’t allow them to run at large. Just like you are not supposed to allow your dog to run at large.
Brock added “Our problem is that no one will claim them when they are running loose and you can’t catch them.”
No resolution to the fowl problem was reached.