Second Reading and Adoption of Ordinance No. 604, an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 10, Chapter 3 of the Livingston Municipal Code Titled “Animal Control Regulations”.

Meeting Date: April 16, 2013

Agenda Item #5. Second Reading and Adoption of Ordinance No. 604, an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 10, Chapter 3 of the Livingston Municipal Code Titled “Animal Control Regulations”.

Note from TheGardeningSnail: This document was prepared by taking a PDF Image file and running it through a program that converts Image to Text. Therefore, There may be some textual goofs and gremlins in the text below. Sorry bout that.

You can find a copy of the proposed ordinance in the Counter Copy of the Agenda Packet at City Hall

 

STAFF REPORT

AGENDA ITEM: Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 604, an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 10, Chapter 3 of the Livingston Municipal Code Titled “Animal Control Regulations”.

MEETING DATE: April16, 2013

PREPARED BY: Ruben Chavez, Police Chief

clip_image001Jose M. Sanchez, City Attorney REVIEWED BY: Jose Antonio Ramirez, City Manager

RECOMMENDATION:

I. Waive the Second Reading an Adopt Ordinance No. 604, amending Title 10, Chapter 3 of the Livingston Municipal Code, “Animal Control Regulations,” pertaining to animals and enforcement of animal control regulations.

BACKGROUND:

The City of Livingston Police Department’s Operations Division handles animal control matters. Title I 0, Chapter 3 of the Livingston Municipal Code (“LMC”) titled, “Animal Control Regulations,” establishes specific regulations pertaining to owning, selling, and caring for animals within Livingston, and for the enforcement of the LMC by the City’s Police Department. The goal of the regulations is to promote responsible animal ownership and provide clear guidance for enforcement.

The attached Ordinance will help in: (I) promoting responsible animal ownership; (2) providing alternative enforcement options which are easier to administer; and, (3) encouraging owners to spay or neuter their pets.

ANALYSIS

Adoption of the attached Ordinance will update the City’s Animal Control Regulations Chapter of the Municipal Code to provide Officers additional remedies in the enforcement of Animal Control laws. Specifically, the Ordinance will authorize Officers to issue administrative citations for violations of the Animal Control Regulations instead of only relying on criminal infractions. The Ordinance will also amend the Municipal Code to add introductory provisions outlining the purpose of Animal Control Regulations Chapter, and clarifY that the City Council has the authority to set fees related to Animal Control

Regulations.

Administrative Citations

Enforcement of the City’s Municipal Code is paramount to the health, safety, and welfare of the City’s community. Currently, the LMC establishes that violations of the Animal Control Regulations are criminal infractions and misdemeanors. Unfortunately, due to the fiscal downturn, County District Attorney and the City have limited resources to prosecute these types of infractions and misdemeanors through the criminal system. The Administrative Citation would be available as an option in lieu of a criminal citation when deemed appropriate on a case by case basis.

To ensure that enforcement of the Animal Code Regulations is as effective as possible, the attached Ordinance amends the Animal Control Regulations Chapter to allow for administrative citations as an alternative to criminal infractions. This will promote compliance by authorizing City Officers to issue citations that it can process administratively and not have to rely solely on the court system.

The Ordinance will also amend the Municipal Code by adding an administrative citation fine schedule for violations of the Animal Control Regulations Chapter (Title 10 Chapter 3). These fines will be less than administrative citations issued under other Chapters of the Municipal Code due to type of violations administrative citations under this Chapter will cover. For example, staff felt that receiving a $100 administrative citation as a “first violation” for not having your pet licensed was excessive. The following fine schedule will apply to violations of the Animal Control Regulations Chapter:

• First Violation: a fine not exceeding$ 50 per day.

• Second Violation: a fine not exceeding$ 100 per day for a second violation of the same code provision or permit under this Chapter within the previous twelve (12) months.

• Third Violation: a fine not exceeding$ 200 per day for each additional violation of the same code provision or permit under this Chapter within the previous twelve (12) months.

Individuals receiving administrative citations will have the right to appeal the citations pursuant to the LMC.

Increase of Licensing Fees for Unaltered Animals- Animal Overpopulation

Cities and counties in the region are struggling to deal with animal overpopulation. The City’s Animal Control Officer, through the Police Department, responds to approximately 800 calls each year involving animal control matters. Many of these calls are related to stray animals or animals which the owners wish to surrender. The City has even recently acquired a small kennel space to temporarily house some of these animals to help avoid increasing charges by the County Shelter. The cost to kennel these animals is borne by the City.

The fees associated with providing animal control services need to be updated to recover the actual cost of providing such services. Staff has evaluated the cost of services related to animal services for unaltered animals, and the cost is not currently being covered. Additionally, the City is increasing its efforts to ensure compliance with all animal licensing ordinances. The City has been addressing the importance of properly vaccinating and licensing animals as well the problem associated with dogs running at large with the residents through a multi-prong approach. Several flyers have been distributed to all residents providing information on licensing and vaccinating dogs and cats, and ordinances associated with dogs running loose. The information is additionally provided on the City’s Channel2 Network. The Livingston Police Department has coordinated Animal Control informational tables at many City events this year including the Farmers Market, the National Night Out event, the Bicycle Rodeo, the Safety Fair, and several others. The Animal Control Officer has provided presentations on responsible animal ownership at all of Livingston’s elementary and middles schools.

The proposed updates to the licensing fees, as well as other animal service fees, such as ownership transfer, impounds, and animal pickups, will allow the City to better serve residents and recover the cost of providing animal services and enforcement of Animal Control Regulations. The fees will be used as required by California Food and Agricultural Code section 30652.

FISCAL IMPACT:

The attached Ordinance will increase the animal licensing fees for unaltered animals in order to promote spay and neuter programs. The Ordinance will also authorize Officers charged with enforcing animal control regulations to issue administrative citations instead of only infractions. This will help collect the fines administratively, and not have to depend on the District Attorney’s office to prosecute the criminal infraction.

ATTACHMENTS

1. Ordinance No. 604, Amending Title 10, Chapter 3, “Animal Control Regulations,” of the Livingston Municipal Code.

2. Administrative Citation.

ORDINANCE NO. 604

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON AMENDING TITLE 10, CHAPTER 3 OF THE LIVINGSTON MUNICIPAL CODE, “ANIMAL CONTROL REGULATIONS,” REGARDING LAWS PERTAINING TO ANIMALS AND ENFORCEMENT OF ANIMAL CONTROL REGULATIONS

THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Section 10-3-1, “Definitions,” of Title 10, Chapter 3 of the Livingston Municipal Code, “Animal Control Regulations,” is hereby renumbered as follows:

10-3-1 DEFINITIONS

SECTION 2. Title 10, Chapter 3 of the Livingston Municipal Code, “Animal Control Regulations,” is hereby amended to add Sections 10-3-02, “Purpose,” and 10-3-03, “Regulations and Fees,” to read as follows:

10-3-2 PURPOSE

This Chapter establishes regulations regarding animals within the City of Livingston and for the formation, function, and penalties associated with Animal Control services.

10-3-3 REGULATIONS AND FEES

A schedule of fees for licenses and services provided in accordance with this Chapter shall be established by Resolution of the City Council.

SECTION 3. Section 10-3-19 of the Livingston Municipal Code, “Public Nuisances,” is amended as follows:

10-3-19 PUBLIC NUISANCES

(A) Declaration. The following animals are hereby declared to be nuisances:

1. An animal causing significant damage to the property of a person other than its owner.

2. A fierce, dangerous or vicious animal which, in the opinion of the enforcing Animal Control Officer, cannot be restrained so as to remove all substantial risk of personal injury or substantial property damage.

3. An animal which causes unreasonable fouling of the air by odors.

4. An animal which causes seriously unsanitary conditions in enclosures or surroundings.

5. A dog, cat, or animal of similar or greater size which urinates or defecates on any public sidewalk, park, or building, or on any private property without the consent of the owner of such private property, unless the owner of or person responsible for such animal shall immediately and properly dispose of the defecation.

6. An animal or combination of animals which bark, whine, howl, cry or makes other loud and disturbing noises in an excessive and continuous manner for at least ten (10) minutes, or in an untimely fashion as to disturb the peace and quiet of the neighbors surrounding or in the vicinity of such premises, or whose barking whining, howling, crying or other sound or cry interferes with any person of ordinary sensitivity in a reasonable comfortable enjoyment of life and property.

7. An animal which attacks or molests pedestrians or chases passing vehicles.

8. An animal which habitually or frequently attacks persons or other domestic animals.

9. A wild animal as defined in this Chapter, if said wild animal is kept or harbored in an area of the City zoned for residential use.

10. An animal that damages public or private property.

11. An animal which is determined by the City of Livingston Police Department or County Health Department to be a public nuisance by virtue of being offensive or dangerous to the public health, welfare, or safety.

12. Public nuisances defined in California Penal Code Section 370.

13. The possession or maintenance of any dog, cat or other animal or the allowing of any dog, cat or other animal to be in violation of this Chapter, in addition to a violation of this Chapter, is hereby declared to be a public nuisance. The Animal Control Officer or any City peace officer is hereby directed and empowered to summarily abate any such public nuisance independent of any criminal prosecution or the results thereof, by any means reasonably necessary to accomplish said abatement including, but not limited to, issuing of citations, issuing of administrative citations pursuant to Title I, Chapter 18 of the Livingston Municipal Code and this Chapter, the destruction of the dog, cat or other animal involved, or by the imposition of specific reasonable conditions and restrictions for the maintenance of such dog or cat. Failure to comply with such conditions and restrictions is a misdemeanor. The owner or keeper of such dog or cat shall reimburse the City Livingston for all costs incurred in enforcing compliance with the provisions of this Section. The City of Livingston, by and through the Police Department, may also commence appropriate proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction as are appropriate under the laws and regulations of the State of California for the abatement and redress of public nuisances.

(B) Abatement. In the case of a fierce, dangerous or vicious animal described in Subsection

{aH2) 1All2) above, an Animal Control Officer may follow the procedures outlined in Section 6 1.24(e)(6) 10-3-43. In all other cases described in subsection fat@, the animal is subject to immediate impoundment, and to license revocation or suspension.

(C) Violation. The owner of or person responsible for an animal committing any of the acts named in subsection (a) above is guilty of an infraction, unless the violation results in an administrative citation, or unless otherwise stated in this Chapter.

(D) Strict Liability. The owner or person responsible for an animal declared to be a public nuisance shall be strictly liable for any personal injury or damage caused by such animal.

(E) Administrative Citation Fine Schedule. Anv administrative citations issued for violations of this Chapter shall be issued pursuant to the following fine schedule:

1. clip_image001[4]A fine not exceeding $ 50 per day for a first violation.

2. A fine not exceeding $ 100 per day for a second violation of the same code provision or permit under this Chapter within the previous twelve (12) months.

3. clip_image002A fine not exceeding $ 200 per day for each additional violation of the same code provision or permit under this Chapter within the previous twelve (12) months.

SECTION 4. Section 10-3-49 of the Livingston Municipal Code, “Enforcement,” is amended to read as follows:

10-3-49 ENFORCEMENT

(A) Responsibility. The Police Department under the direction of the City Manager shall supervise the administration and enforcement of this Chapter and of the laws of the State of California pertaining to the control of animals and shall have charge of the city’s animal shelter, employees and facilities.

(B) Agreements. The City Council may enter into written agreements with any veterinarian or any organized humane society or association, which will undertake to carry out the provisions of this Chapter and maintain and operate an animal shelter, and which will license, take up, impound and dispose of animals. Any such veterinarian or society or association which shall enter into such agreement shall carry out all of the provisions of this Chapter in the manner herein prescribed.

(C) Interference with Officer. It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, oppose or resist any officer or person empowered to enforce the provisions of this Chapter while such officer or person is engaged in the performance of his duties as provided herein.

(D) State Law. Nothing in this ordinance shall prevent the Animal Control Officer from acting, when he or she deems it appropriate to do so, under the applicable provisions of California Penal Code, Section 597, et. seq.

(E) Violation. Unless otherwise stated in this ordinance or State law, any person violating any of the provisions of this Chapter shall be guilty of an infraction or an administrative citation. Animal Control Officers shall determine whether the violation should be treated as an infraction depending on the severity of the violation. Each day a violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense.

(F) Recoupment of Enforcement Costs. The intent of this Section is to authorize the recoupment of administrative costs reasonably related to the enforcement of this Chapter. In furtherance of this intent the City shall be entitled to recover costs, including staff time in the enforcement of the provisions of this Chapter.

(G) Records of Costs. The Animal Control Officer or his designee shall maintain records of all administrative costs incurred in the processing of violations in the enforcement of this Chapter and other applicable Chapters and may recover such costs from the violator and/or property owner or property occupier as provided herein.

SECTION 5. Severability

If any provision of this ordinance, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of the ordinance, including the application of such part or provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby and shall continue in full force and effect. To this end, provisions of this ordinance are severable. The City Council hereby declares that it would have passed each section, subsection, subdivision, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase hereof irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, subdivisions, paragraphs, sentences, clauses, or phrases be held unconstitutional, invalid or unenforceable.

SECTION 6. Effective Date

This ordinance shall become effective thirty (30) days after its final passage and adoption.

Introduced: April 2, 2013

Passed and Adopted: April16, 2013

RODRIGO ESPINOZA, Mayor

of the City of Livingston

ATTEST:

State of California ) County of Merced ) City of Livingston )

I, hereby certify that the foregoing Ordinance was regularly introduced at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Livingston on the 2nd day of April, 2013, and was duly passed and adopted by the City Council at a regular meeting held this 161

day of April, 2013, by the following

vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT:

ABSTAIN:

ANTONIO SILVA, City Clerk of the City of Livingston

1949176.2

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