by Alan McArthur
A new animal ordinance was adopted on Monday by the Weston Board of Aldermen. The ordinance provides new regulations on how residents must restrain animals and provides penalties for violations.
The ordinance includes a section prohibiting dogs from running at large. The provision says owners of a dog must restrain the dog and keep it from threatening or biting any person on a public street or sidewalk.
Another passage prohibits a person allowing a dog to defecate on any place except the owner's property.
“It shall be unlawful for any person, or persons, owning any dog to allow such animal to defecate upon any sidewalk, gutter, street, park, or other public area, recreation area, any subdivision or residential common ground, or private property of another, unless such feces is immediately removed by the person responsible for the animal.”
Another section lists the actions of an animal to classify it as a public nuisance. Some actions include chasing vehicles or bicycles; continual barking, howling, whining or yelping; interfering with trash collection; or causing damage to private or public property.
A written complaint is required before the Weston Police Department notifies the owner of the animal.
The ordinance limits the control of vicious animals within city limits and says them must be properly restrained with muzzle and leash. The ordinance also says an animal owner must not allow a vicious animal to bite a human being or other domesticated animal. However, the ordinance does provide a defense if the person is bitten while committing a crime or unauthorized entry to property of the animal owner.
Animal owners are also prohibited from neglecting or abusing any animal under the ordinance. A person would be fined if they killed the animal, caused injury to the animal, abandoned the animal, or failed to provide adequate care.
It is also against the law now to injure or kill animals within the city limits. The provision includes exceptions for poisonous snakes, insects or animal killed to protect the life or health of any person. The provision also excludes the hunting of lawful game animals.
Residents are also prohibited from keeping a snake or poisonous insect on their property.
Penalties for violating the ordinance will be a misdemeanor with a fine ranging from $25 to $500 for a first offense and $50 to $500 for a repeat offense. If a person keeps a vicious animal then the fine increases $100 to $500 for a first offense and $200 to $500 for a second offense.
The board approved a new traffic ordinance defining that passing on the right, or shoulder of the road, is illegal within the city limits.
Bids were requested for several items. The items include the recodification of the city ordinances, reroofing 526 Main Street, a new contract for recycling and trash hauling, constructing the Lewis and Clark Museum entrance at city hall, and work to chip and seal Weston's streets.
The board also turned down an option to purchase additional terrorism insurance for the city of Weston.