Monday, February 4, 2013

Rankin County Animal Control Ordinance

Many years ago, our backyard neighbors (who have since moved) owned multiple dogs.  These dogs would bark incessantly at all hours, but especially any time my family used (or tried to use) our backyard.  My wife and I are easy-going; we almost got used to it.  At any rate, we never raised a stink about it until a stink began rising from our neighbor's back yard.  An incredibly strong odor of dog waste and general filth.  Upon inspection, we discovered our neighbors had erected a chain-link kennel in their backyard, and had six or more medium sized dogs either in the kennel or roaming around the back yard.  That was too much and we began to worry about, among other things, the general welfare of the dogs.

We live in a subdivision in the unincorporated part of the County, so I knew the law would be lax.  However, we did learn our neighbors were in violation of the County's animal ordinance.  An animal control officer came out, took a look, and put an end to the nonsense.  Apparently, our neighbors were running some type of for-profit breeding operation in their back yard.  

A little over a year ago, our neighbor was attacked by a pit bull while riding his bike.  The dog escaped  through a hole it dug under its fence.  

Often, my front yard will be littered with the feces of dogs, collared, yet roaming the neighborhood at leisure without owner or leash attached.  

These experiences are likely not uncommon to many at the Reservoir.  Here is the applicable law in the event you are interested.  

Above is the Rankin County Animal Control Ordinance presently in effect.  It was adopted on August 2, 2010, and provides in pertinent part that dogs in platted subdivisions must either be on a leash and under the direct supervision of a person, or behind a fence/in a house.  This is colloquially referred to as "the leash law."  The only exceptions to the leash law are hunting dogs being used for such purposes during a lawful hunting season, or dogs working stock.

There are general prohibitions against unsanitary, offensive, or noisy animals.  Specifically concerning platted subdivisions, the ordinance prohibits ownership to no more than four "animals" over the age of three months unless the animals are kept on one or more acres of property.  Animals are not further defined, so theoretically, a person would be limited to four total animals, not just four of the same type of animal.  In other words, you can't own three cats and two dogs, no matter the size.  

Ownership of wild animals "that could be considered a potential menace to the public" is unlawful.  Pit bull breeds are expressly listed as such an animal.  There is a specific method provided in which to seek a variance of the wild animal prohibition.  A copy of the form to be used is made a part of the ordinance (embedded above).

The ordinance gives powers to county animal control officers to capture and impound animals considered nuisances, threats of public safety, or otherwise in violation of the ordinance.

Penalties for violations of this ordinance are up to 90 days in county jail and/or up to a $1000 fine.  Restitution can also be ordered by the court for any damage caused by the animal.  

The Cities of Brandon and Flowood have specific ordinances related to pit bulls.  See this link.   

In April of 2010, prior to the adoption of the current law, Jim wrote a great piece on the ordinance in effect at that time.  You can read it here.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this!