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Proposed Changes to Animal Ordinance

April 2, 2003

To: Richard I. Kerbel, Town Manager

From: Steven B. Fage, Chief of Police

Re: Proposed Amendments to Sec. 3 – Animals

Town Ordinances of N. Kingstown

I am recommending that the below indicated sections of our ordinances be amended as indicated.

These changes are based upon a comparative analysis of what other communities assess for fines relating to nuisance animals (i.e. barking dogs), and an overall review of Section 3 for consistency and appropriateness of fine amounts (i.e. Sec. 3-5 animals running at large, and 3-7 impoundment fees).

Sec. 3-9 Public nuisance (pertains to animals that continually howl, yelp or bark and also to animals that trespass on private or public property and destroy anything of value)

The penalty under subsection (a) and (b) of this section shall be as follows: for the first offense a $25.00 fine, for a second offense within one year from the first offense a $50.00 fine, and for a third offense within one year from the first offense a $100.00 fine.

Currently violations of this section are fined under section 3-22 (Penalty), which provides for a $10.00 fine for each offense.

 

Town 1st Off. 2nd Off. 3rd Off. Subsequent Off.
North Kingstown $10 $10 $10 Each day is a separate offense
South Kingstown $10 $15 $25 Each within 1 year of the other
Jamestown $25 $25 $25 Each day is a separate offense
Exeter $15 $25 $35 Each within 1 year of the other
Warwick $15 $25 $50 Each within a calendar year
Narragansett $25 $50 $75 No cap on time
East Greenwich $25 $50 $75 Each within 1 year of the other

While my recommendation would position our fines on the high end, when compared to other communities, I believe this to be justified based upon the amount of time that is typically necessary to bring an enforcement action in these types of cases.

It is not unusual for our staff to spend tens of hours attempting to verify a single barking dog nuisance complaint. Verification often involves more than just arriving at the residence of the culprit animal and hearing a dog bark. Staff must monitor the location from a distance to verify that the animal is continually howling, yelping or barking.

Sec. 3-22 Penalty

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any person convicted of violating any section of this chapter shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $10.00 $25.00 for each violation, to be recovered for the use of the town. If the violation shall be continued, each day's violation shall constitute a separate offense.

Sec. 3-23 Removal of dog feces

(d) Penalties for violation. Violation of this section shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $10.00 for the first offense, not exceeding $15.00 $25.00 for the second offense within a year of the first offense and not exceeding $25.00 $50.00 for the third and any subsequent offenses within a year of the first offense, to be recovered by action of debt or by complaint or warrant, to use as the town council may prescribe.

I should add that our staff typically makes every attempt to avoid assessing fines. We prefer to work at bringing violators into compliance and mitigating future problems. Our fiscal year revenues from animal fines usually total less than two hundred dollars.

__________________

Steven B. Fage

Chief of Police

cc: Captain Charboneau

Animal Warden MacLaughlin

attachments: Mr. Ralph Henry letter / 11-18-02

Sec. 3 Animals – Ordinances of NK