Voters will get a shot at animal ordinance

Judge validates petition signatures that had been tossed by county

KINGMAN - Mohave County voters will have the chance to void the revised county kennel ordinances.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen ruled Thursday that 196 signatures on 17 petitions that were tossed out by the County Elections and Recorder's offices due to a notary error are valid and can be counted toward the total number of signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot.

The Board of Supervisors approved the revised ordinances in October. Opponents say that the new rules place an undue burden on animal rescue organizations.

In November, Guardian Angels for Pets, the Repeal Animal Ordinance Committee and other animal rescue organizations turned in more than 5,450 signatures to the County Elections Department to put the issue on the next ballot.

In December, the Mohave County Elections and Recorder's offices threw out several pages of signatures because of a notary error. Other signatures were thrown out in January for invalid dates, duplicate signatures, and other reasons.

The organizations needed 4,618 valid signatures in order to be placed on the next ballot. According to the Elections Department, they came up 163 signatures short.

Earlier this month, the organizations challenged the reasoning behind throwing out the signatures because a notary had dated the petitions in the wrong spot.

After considering affidavits from five notaries, Jantzen ruled that the notary errors were unintentional and correctable. He also ruled that the Elections and Recorder's offices had followed state law when they removed the signatures from the count in December.

The earliest the issue could hit the ballot is August, county officials said.