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11/12/2012 6:00:00 AM
Kingman-area animal rescues split on kennel law's defeat

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

Local animal sanctuaries are still divided over a county ballot proposition that would have changed how animal kennels can be run, even though the issue failed Tuesday night by more than 5,000 votes.

It is unknown if the new Board of Supervisors will try to amend the ordinances again or drop the issue.

"I'm really disappointed this didn't pass," said Cherie Da Lynn, the owner of the animal sanctuary For the Luv of Paws on Route 66 near Oatman. The purpose of the ordinance was to prevent animal hoarding and improve the living conditions of animals in the county, she said.

Lotti Benker of Help Animals Lives Today in Kingman has a different opinion.

"I'm very happy that it failed. It would have had a detrimental effect on shelters," Benker said. "The requirements it would have put on shelters were just ludicrous."

The Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance in 2010. The changes were designed to bring together and organize zoning, health and animal ordinances from three different county departments - Environmental Health, Planning and Zoning and Animal Control.

If approved, the proposition would have allowed property owners with more than an acre of property to apply for a permit to have more than four dogs. The current ordinance limits people who live outside of Kingman, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City to no more than four dogs, regardless of how much land they own.

It also would have required kennel owners to use stainless steel bowls for food and water, required bedding sand or pea gravel for the floors of outdoor kennels, set specific sizes for animal kennels, required volunteers to spend at least 15 minutes a day taking care of each animal, set guidelines for euthanizing animals and required kennels to keep records of each animal.

A small group of animal sanctuary owners argued new regulations in the ordinance would put them out of business. In 2010, they gathered enough signatures to put the issue on November's ballot.

Now that the issue has failed, the county will revert to the old ordinance, which is more stringent, Da Lynn said.

Under the old ordinance, county staff can cite sanctuary owners for not having proper bathroom facilities for volunteers and concrete flooring for outdoor runs, she said.

Several sanctuary owners have argued in the past that concrete floors in outdoor kennels are bad for the animals. The floor gets too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.

"People can leave their dogs chained up in their backyard all day," Da Lynn said. "We've got to have something to prevent some of the things we've seen."

If the new ordinance had passed, it really wouldn't have had much effect on sanctuaries that have current health and zoning permits, Da Lynn said. They would have been grandfathered in until they made major changes to their kennels.

It's the few sanctuaries that don't have current permits that would have had to implement some of the new rules if the ordinance had passed, she said.

"It's not fair to those of us who follow the rules," Da Lynn said.

Benker disagrees. Her sanctuary's health and zoning permits are current. But some of the rules proposed by the failed ordinance, such as stainless steel bowls, are just unnecessary, she said.

She agrees that the county does have too many unwanted pets but said there are better ways of handling the situation.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: Cherie DaLynn

[Comment deleted for excessive length]

Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Article comment by: A Question

@Rachel T.
Why would you complain about a sanctuary getting a three-year zoning permit? For the Luv of Paws is a very well-run, highly respected rescue/sanctuary. All the other rescue/sanctuaries are welcome to request a three-year permit, but they would have to have as good a track record to be granted one.

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Article comment by: JERRY BURCH

@ Jerry D
Well said.
First, the county/state doesn't put The First $ into any spay/neuter program.
We were fortunate to get grants from the license plate fund for the first year here in Kingman. Funny, Victoria Cowper sits on the Board that dishes the License Plate $$ out but didn't obtain any for LHC or Kingman programs this last year. Hmmmmm - That $$ is closely monitored to be sure its used for its intended purpose. (probably the reason for not taking it)
I happen to Agree 100% regarding the Cat Lady's ridiculous case.
It is important for Mohave Co. residents to know The Cat Lady has spayed/neutered thru generous donations and hard work raising $ thru yard sales and such, in excess of 500 animals. Add transport and adoptions we have done 2500. Now the county is spending on this case more than the $$$ we've spent on the spaying/neutering . What does that say about this case?? For All you wanting to know the current status of the case. Please email we need people.
Thank You, Jerry (Cat Lady's Husband)

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Article comment by: Jerry D.

401 didn't stop the back yard breeding or the barking neighbors dogs or the poor dogs being dumped in the desert or tied to a tree. We need a spay & neuter enforcement to stop the over population of unwanted animals in this county. Wouldn't it be too bad if we put the rescues and shelter out of business? But the pet owners need to be held accountable for their animals... get them spay & neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and be responcible for our pets. Own ONLY what you can take care of, make arrangements for your pets if you become sick or die. Don't tie your animals out without food, water and shelter. Pet owners need to take of their pets. County needs to put laws in effect that require pet owners to spay & neuter all their pets. County needs to stop wasting our tax money on stupid law suits such as with the cat hoarder saying somebody stole her cat and going after RUFFF for not putting something else on the ground other than dirt.

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Article comment by: Betsy GAP Force - Guardian Angels of Pets

The majority of Mohave County rescues & pet owners obviously agreed the 2010 Ordinance was unreasonable - by their election votes and the 5600 petition signatures to quash the ordinance, collected in 2 short weeks. Blame
BOS Buster for sparking such drastic action when he outlawed all but 2 dogs!

The defeated ordinance put unnecessary, expensive requirements on Rescues & Sanctuaries, and authorized Animal Control to raid a residential "special permitted" property under the guise of "inspecting" the welfare of the 5th dog. It threatened our privacy and rights as citizens, property owners and pet owners. There was nothing in the ordinance about residential dogs being chained-up in back yards, and hoarders could care less about any animal ordinance.

Powerful noisy pet owners in this county are expecting the new Board of Supervisors not to drop this issue - but to eagerly cooperate with us in re-writing a new Animal Ordinance ASAP. The BOS's job is to run an efficient County, saving tax-payers dollars....which can be accomplished by combining and simplifying all 3 existing animal ordinances.

A new committee needs to be formed - not with a majority of contractors, realtors, business owners or CEO's, but with Rescue people, animal activists, and ordinary residential pet owners - compassionate, understanding and patient animal lovers, truly experienced, involved and concerned with the demands and expenses of animal care and welfare.

Hopefully at least 3 of the 5 BOS also have these same traits, and be willing to cooperate together for as long as it'll take to design a new Animal Ordinance that's fair and reasonable for all pets, pet owners, Rescues and Sanctuaries.

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Article comment by: Robert Hopkins

RUFFF spay/nuteuters every animal (not just dogs). They have for 10 years.

The problem with the Mohave Ordinance is the arbitrary specification of physical plant features, equipment and procedures by Mohave County officials. "Bedding sand" and "pea stone" (specified in the Ordinance) are actually dangerous to animals. Either could cause acute or chronic constipation or intestinal blockage. Do an online search for "sand" and/or "stone intestinal blockage" in dogs and see what veterinarians and experts say about the subject.

RUFFF operates with the advice and oversight from four licensed veterinarians. The combined experience and wisdom of those individuals far outweighs the misinformation in the ordinances promulgated by Mohave administrators. They did not even include a veterinarian among their team of experts who conjured-up this regulation.

Besides, why did they ignore the standards already established nearly 60 years ago in the "Animal Welfare Act" by the USDA? That Federal regulation covers dogs thoroughly.

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Article comment by: Arden Morley

Diane, sanctuaries already spend their donations and/or funds to spay and neuter other peoples' pets. Why should they have to fund a low cost neighborhood plan? Shouldn't the County implement a low cost plan for its low income citizens?

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Article comment by: Hillarie Allison

I think the title of this article is misleading since I run a sanctuary and was never asked for comment nor was the owner of Exotic Heritage Cats Assoc. nor were any of the rescue groups I find it odd that I wasn't called for comment since I was the chairman of the committee and wrote the referendum text and, along with every other sanctuary and rescue group EXCEPT DaLynn's, and many, many private pet owners, fought tirelessly to obtain signatures for this to be on the ballot. The qoutes by DaLynn are not acurate- the 2007 ordinance says nothing about cement or bathrooms and it was only at P & Z meeting where she complained of volunteers entering her house to use the restroom, that the bathroom issue, and others, like "bedding sand" came up. The 2007-08 ordinance admittedly, leaves too much up to interpretation, but the 2010 ordinance wouldn't have changed any of the items DaLynn mentioned. Hoarding is a problem Nationally, but hoarders don't do it publicly, so it would be very difficult to stop with ANY ordinance, and most hoarders think they are doing right and saving lives. But hoarders don't spay/neuter, one of the most serious issues facing Mohave County's animals and not even addressed by 2010, and often get overcrowded and unable to care for the animals they have taken in. Abuse and noise abatement laws are already on the books and only need to be enforced. 2010 would have hurt the sanctuaries and the responsible private pet owner alike. I believe in following the rules, too, but if the rules don't make sense, and canactually be harmful to the animals, then the rules need to be legally challenged and changed!

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: Rachel T.

Proposition 401 was defeated with 30,733 NO votes which was 55.20% of those who voted and Cherie Da Lynn is defending this ordinance? Incredible! I guess 30,000+ registered voters & Tax payers- are wrong! Amazing isn't it...the people of Mohave County shot this ordinance down by 55.20%...because it was too restrictive and unfair to responsible pet owners and sanctuaries alike! If Ms. Da Lynn is so fond of following the rules, why then did she complain about a 2-year permit and request a 3-year permit? And got it! This information is on BOS Agenda dtd. May, 7, 2012 - Item 11. The rest of the sanctuaries still have to pay every 2 years - whether they get it or not! Talk about fair........This Prop. 401 Ordinance wouldn't have stopped the chaining of animals nor stopped hoarding - it only would have punished those of us who are responsible to our beloved pets! See results of Prop. 401 below:

Mohave County - Proposition 401
73 of 73 Precincts Reporting
Detail Map

Choice Votes Percent
YES 24,939 44.80%
NO 30,733 55.20%

Total 55,672

Rachel Thalrose

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: Kathy McClurg

I strongly agree with Diane Pherigo comments. It is the individual owners that need to take more responsibility when it comes to the care of their animals. I volunteered at a sanctuary in Golden Valley (not naming the rescue), and was appalled at the conditions at this facility. I am not saying the owner does not love her animals, she just cannot seem to get it, that many improvements need to be made and any current requirements by the County are for the good of the animals. She could accomplish much if she would take the time and money she uses to fight the county and use it to improve her sanctuary. I have been volunteering at 'For the Luv of Paws' for over a year and could not be more impressed with how this sanctuary is run. The property is immaculate inside and out, animals are clean and well fed, and the animals health is closely monitored.
It is all about taking responsibility!

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: Frederick Williams

Just think of where the county would be without the shelters and sanctuaries. The county should give them more support instead of harassing them and making it harder for everyone to have animals. Leave them alone unless they are mistreating or abusing the animals.

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: SAVE the ANIMALS

County, LEAVE the LOVING, CARING shelters ALONE! The animals are SAFE, LOVED, & FED! Go after the the people who CHAIN their dogs up all day long, who let them run the streets, & MOST IMPORTANT who DON'T neuter or spay their pets! ENOUGH ALREADY!

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: Diane Pherigo

HALT and For The Love Of Paws are doing a fantastic job! What we really need is a county or statewide Spay and Neuter law, if people were forced to be more responsible then the number of unwanted animals would decrease. A portion of the donations and funds raised for a shelter could be used to fund a low cost spay and neuter for those who qualify. Please don't breed or buy, while shelter dogs die

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