F'ville gives animal laws more bite

By Reggie Ellis

The Farmersville City Council will consider heavy fines for animal control violations at its meeting on Oct. 24.

City Manager Renee Miller said the owner of an out-of-control animal will receive an initial warning. If there is another incident there would be a fine of $300 and the third time would be a $500 fine.

&#8220The first time might just be that the dog dug a hole under the fence while your were at work,” Miller said. &#8220We are concerned with animals that have a repeated history of incidents.”

A separate resolution, which would work in conjunction with the first, will also be discussed by the council. The ordinance would pass on costs associated with animal control to the owner. Costs charged to the owner of, for example, a vicious dog, could include the time the animal control officer spent to come to Farmersville, capture the dog and drive back to drop the animal off at the pound in Visalia.

If it took the officer an hour and half, the city may charge the animal's owner for officer's time, gas, equipment expense and the boarding of the animal. This may also include attorney fees if the owner requests a hearing to dispute the charges.

The first resolution is part of a contract for animal control services with the Valley Oak SPCA. The contract, for $60,000-$80,000 per year, would pay for an SPCA employee, equipment, fuel costs, injured animal fees, veterinary fees and vicious dog hearings. Both resolutions will only be implemented if the city passes Measure G, a 4% utility tax measure on the Nov. 8 ballot. If passed by at least 50% of the voters, Measure G would bring in an estimated $200,000 per year.

The Farmersville City Council will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24 at City Hall, located at 909 W. Visalia Road.

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