Deputy attorney says BOS decision legal

AZ statutes allow for ordinance on animals, according to Milkie

KINGMAN - A number of residents, pet owners and animal rescue organizations have expressed concern over the county's revised animal ordinances and have been asking how ordinances made by the Board of Supervisors can supersede state and federal laws, especially when it comes to animal control ordinances.

The Board approved the revision of animal control, environmental health and planning and zoning ordinances governing kennels on Oct. 4. Besides regulating the conditions an animal can be kept in, the Board changed the number of dogs a resident could have on an acre or less of property from four to two.

The Board will reconsider that rule at its Nov. 1 meeting.

There are several laws scattered throughout the Arizona Revised Statutes that give the county the authority to regulate kennels, said Deputy County Attorney Dolores Milkie.

She pointed to ARS 11-251, paragraph 17, which states that the county can "adopt provisions necessary to preserve the health of the county," and ARS 36-602, which states that the county has the authority to abate public nuisances and possible sources of sickness and disease.

Milkie also pointed to ARS 11-251, paragraph 47, which states the county can "make and enforce ordinances for the protection and disposition of domestic animals subject to inhumane, unhealthful or dangerous conditions."

That paragraph also explains why the cities and counties can have more restrictive laws than the state: "Nothing in this paragraph limits or restricts the authority granted to incorporated cities and towns or counties pursuant to section 13-2910." ARS Section 13-2910 is the statute that defines cruelty to animals.

While federal and state law does supersede county law, state statutes permit the county to create ordinances that are more stringent than state statutes, she said. However, county ordinances cannot be more lenient than state statutes.

The real impetuous behind the revision of the county kennel ordinances was to get the County Animal Control, Planning and Zoning and Environmental Health departments working off of one set of ordinances, Milkie said. What most residents don't realize is that most of the regulations in the revised ordinance have been in effect for years.

The Board of Supervisors will reconsider the two-dog limit for properties under an acre or less in size at 9 a.m. on Nov. 1 at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.