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River Heights passes noise-nuisance law to deal with barking dogs

January 26th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Sean O’Sullivan

RIVER HEIGHTS — Dog owners in River Heights will have to be more careful in the future. The City Council met Tuesday and voted unanimously to adopt a noise nuisance ordinance.

The new ordinance outlines procedures for Animal Control to follow when responding to noise complaints about dogs. Complaints should only be made if a dog is barking for more than 15 minutes.

“We wanted to make it as detailed as possible,” said Councilman Rich Okelberry, author of the new ordinance.

The procedure outlines what may happen to dog owners who have recieved anywhere up to three offenses during a rolling 12-month period. The first offense will generally be a warning, but if there are serious offenses, such as animal abuse, the officer may issue a citation, Okelberry said.

However, if the animal is not making any noise when the officer arrives, the complainant will be asked to sign a complaint affidavit. The complaints may then be used in court, if necessary. These affidavits will help reduce false complaints, said Sheriff Deputy Kenny Eggleston.

The second and third offenses require citations to be administered. The third offense may lead to a license revocation hearing.

The council made it clear that the ordinance will operate on a rolling 12 month period. “It’s the first offense in a 12-month period. You could have had an offense two years ago, but a new offense would be treated like it’s the first,” Okelberry said.

The council also decided to spend $100 on a cloud service to back up important computer data. Okelberry explained clouds as off-site servers that will hold information safe if anything happens to the computers in the office. No important data will be lost due to a fire or something similar.


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