County to review, update animal control ordinances
KINGMAN – Mohave County Supervisors’ attorney Ryan Esplin will meet with officials from animal control, public health and planning and zoning to make changes to county ordinances defining and regulating dog kennels.
Esplin laid out the basics of the county’s three main animal control ordinances during a PowerPoint presentation at Monday’s regular Board of Supervisors meeting, without going into specific cases.
The county has come under criticism by Golden Valley resident Jacquelyn Chevalier, who spoke during the public comment period about animal control officers “busting” into her home in December and seizing several of her dogs.
Esplin said there’s a proper forum to decide violations of the ordinance, whether it’s a criminal or civil offense.
“In this instance, really, the particular issue is for the courts,” Esplin said early in his presentation. “If the litigant believes there was an illegal search or the ordinance is somehow flawed, they can raise that issue in court, and that’s what you do.”
Each of the animal control ordinances has a specific purpose, the attorney explained. The animal control ordinance is for public safety such as vicious dogs or dogs roaming at large; the public health ordinance is to make sure the facility is clean and things are done properly so dogs aren’t getting sick; and planning and zoning is about land use and where kennels can be placed.
“Sometimes there can be some confusion because somebody will try to overlap one over the other,” Esplin said.
One is the definition of kennel, which has been brought to the board in the past, and there is still some confusion, he admitted.
The 1994 animal control ordinance only addresses five or more dogs, whereas the 2007 public health ordinance addresses all animals bred and raised for sale, including cats. There is some overlap among them.
“The ordinances can work together and they should work together,” Esplin said. “And that’s probably the best thing and hopefully we can come up with a way that all ordinances are working together.”
There are state animal laws, and one of them gives supervisors the ability to act, to pass ordinances to protect animals. During inspection, animal control can issue citations for cruelty to animals, Esplin noted.
Chevalier lashed out at Supervisor Buster Johnson for showing false photographs and making false statements about conditions at her kennel at a previous board meeting. He “dishonestly” accused her of injuries to her German shepherd, Blueberry, when those injuries were caused while in the care of the animal control, she alleged.
“I don’t expect you to make a decision on my case,” Chevalier said, showing pictures of her dog, Blueberry, in full coat. “I did not give (animal control officers) permission to enter my home.
“The animal control ordinance needs to be changed to match state law. This is an example of how things need to be fixed because they were adopting out my dogs before my hearing was even done.”
Supervisor Jean Bishop said she would like to see the ordinances “cleaned up” and combined into a booklet, and submit those changes to the codification system.
Johnson said that’s “premature.” He made a motion directing Esplin to get all departments together and review glitches in the county ordinances and come back to the board with revisions prior to codifying the ordinances for the public. The motion passed unanimously.