County Commission: Animal Nuisance Rules & Regulations

Conundrum:  how to enforce issue of barking dogs.
Conundrum: how to enforce issue of barking dogs.

While the first April meeting of the Sheridan County Commission was under an hour, about twenty minutes of public comment was spent on the issue of Resolution 11-01-001.

The main crux of this document is to remove any reference to the word “ordinance” that was written in the March 1, 1982 “Dog Ordinance”, and replace it with a new document entitled “Animal Nuisance Rules and Regulations.”

Sheridan resident Mickey McNickel approached the Commission to voice concern that there doesn't seem to be any wording regarding barking dogs, as well as no indication that dogs in the county should be licensed, registered and vaccinated. He said that he felt with subdivisions in certain areas, continual noise of barking dogs should be considered unlawful.

Commissioner Steve Meier said as far as the Commission is concerned, they do not have Home Rule; the County is limited by the State in that they cannot write laws or ordinances.

Another resident to speak before the Commission was Sheridan County resident John Rice, who owns a kennel and has raised dogs for thirty years. He told the Commission.

Rice also referred to another aspect of the document that worries him.

Commissioner Terry Cram indicated that even though language regarding barking dogs is not in the resolution, most of the feedback he's been hearing from citizens want it included. He asked Sheriff Hofmeier and Lt. Mark Conrad of the Sheriff's Office if they knew of other jurisdictions who do enforce barking dog incidents.

Hofmeier said he has not spoken with Johnson County, but he has with Campbell County. Campbell County has a lot of money and equipment, as well as trained people who have been hired to enforce what he termed “dog ordinances.”

Lt. Conrad also said that statistics on success and effectiveness of existing ordinances are difficult to determine. For example, he shared that approximately 75% of the City of Sheridan's PD calls are animal calls, to which more Community Service Officers could be needed. He posed the question of how does one define nuisance? He added that he feels the issue is responsible owners, and how does one legislate that?

Chairman Tom Ringley ended the discussion on this particular topic by saying there is no set solution, and the Commission will wrestle with the issue for some time.

After the public comment period ended, County Business Manager Renee Obermueller reminded the audience.

To read the details of the rules and regulations, click here:

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