Animal ordinances updated again

Fran Brownell

City of Pratt updates 9 of 42 ordinances

The Pratt city ordinance governing animals at large was amended by Pratt City Commissioners at their regular meeting Monday, February 3, on recommendation of Pratt City Attorney Regina Probst. Mayor Gary Schmidt presided with Commissioners Doug Meyer, Gary Peters, Jason Leslie and Zach Deeds in attendance.

Nine other city ordinances pertaining to licenses for cereal malt beverages, peddlers, canvassers, solicitors and caterer were also amended as the first step in the city’s move toward a Global Fee Resolution which places all city fees in one master document.

Addressing the revision of the animal at large ordinance change, Probst said the former ordinance stipulated that pet owners could not willfully allow animals to be unattended when in public.

“To me, that almost takes away the reason to have this ordinance because nobody’s going to say, ‘Here, puppy, I want you to go and run around the neighborhood,’” Probst said.

Police Chief Nate Humble agreed that amended ordinance will be easier to enforce because it doesn’t pertain to the pet owner’s intent.

Probst said she also deleted the reference to fowl from the new ordinance.

“I looked at the definition and chickens and ducks fall underneath the animal definition, so really there was just no reason to continue to have the words ‘and fowl’,” Probst said. “So, it just says animals, because fowl are animals.”

The requirements for the amended ordinance stipulate that in order for an animal not to be deemed as running at large it must be under the physical control of owner or keeper either by leash or chain, or in a structure or within a fence enclosure or be controlled by an operating electronic training system.

The ordinance has a separate condition pertaining to animals in the downtown area, which requires animals to be leashed and also stipulates that animals found at large will be impounded.

Regarding the matter of city licensing fees, on Probst’s recommendation, commissioners also moved forward, updating nine of 42 ordinances that have fees attached.

Probst said the purpose of updating the ordinances is to remove the specific dollar amount from individual ordinances and have a separate ordinance that governs the fees for all ordinances.

“We’re moving from having specific dollar amounts in our ordinance book and having one Global Fee Resolution,” Probst said.

The wording in the ordinance will be that there is a “proscribed fee” and that fee will be recorded in a separate document where all licensing fees will be recorded.

The separate document with licensing fees can be amended as needed which, Probst said, is a more efficient way of handling the updates.

The nine ordinances presented for action at the meeting were the first group of a total of 42 that will be presented for commission action at future meetings and pertained to licenses for cereal malt beverages, peddlers, canvassers, solicitors and caterers.

Probst affirmed Deeds’ observation that the change would allow commissioners to track and keep up with licensing fees being charged during budgeting discussions.

“Yes, absolutely,” Probst said, “because when you have fees spread throughout this ordinance book, it’s easy to overlook something.”

Probst referred to a recent update of licensing fees for plumbers and electricians, noting that those fees hadn’t been updated in a decade.

“It was way past time to increase those fees just to keep up the cost to the city,” Probst said.

With a Global Fee Resolution containing all of the fees in one document, commissioners and department heads can look at all the fees and pass a new resolution every year, adjusting fees as necessary, instead of going through the Ordinance Book and having to amend an ordinance for every single, separate one, Probst said.

Commissioner Leslie made the motion for the revision, specifying each ordinance by number and name as requested by Mayor Schmidt, Commissioners Deeds, Meyer, Peters and Schmidt unanimously voted to approve amendments to the first group of nine ordinances.

“There’s a lot yet to come,” City Manager Bruce Pinkall told commissioners.