Animal Welfare Laws - City of Columbus, MS

City of Columbus Mississippi Animal Control

ARTICLE 1 IN GENERAL 

Sec. 6-1. Fowl at large.

It shall be a misdemeanor for any owner or person having in charge or control any chicken or other fowl to permit the same to run at large in the streets of the city or upon the premises of another. (Ord. of 3-10-08)

Sec. 6-2. Cruelty to animals.

It shall be unlawful for any person to inhumanly, unnecessarily or cruelly beat or injure by whip or any other instrument or otherwise abuse any dumb animal. (Code 1905, 466) State law reference—Cruelty to animals generally, Miss. Code Ann. 1972, 97-41-1-97-41-17.

Sec. 6-3. Reserved.

Sec. 6-4. Protection of birds, game.

It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt with a firearm or slingshot, or to shoot, or kill in any manner or by any means any birds or game.

State law reference-Birds generally, Miss. Code Ann. 1972. 41- 47.l -41 47-17.

Cross references—Health and sanitation. Ch. 16; disposal of dead animals 16-34.

State law references—General stock law. Miss. Code' Ann. 1972, 69-13-1—69-13-27; general provisions regarding cruelty to animals, Miss Code Ann. 1972, 97-41-1 et seq.

Sec. 6-5. Livestock at large.

It shall be unlawful for the owners or persons having in charge or control any animals of the cattle, horse, mule, sheep, swine or goat kind, to permit them to run at large in the city. (Code 1905, § 332)

Sec. 6-6. Reserved.

Editor's note—Former § 6-6, which pertained to dangerous animals at large and derived from § 497 of the city's 1905 Code, has been deleted at the discretion of the editor, treated as repealed by Art. II, §3 of an ordinance adopted Dec. 13, 1988, codified herein as Art. IV, dangerous animals, §§ 6-71—6-80.

Secs. 6-7—6-19. Reserved.

 

ARTICLE II. IMPOUNDMENT OF LIVESTOCK AND FOWL*

Sec. 6-20. Authorized.

Any animal or fowl other than common household pets, found in the city in violation of any provision of this chapter shall be taken up by any authorized officer or employee of the city and impounded and dealt with as provided in this article. (Code 1905, § 333)

Sec. 6-21. Notice; sale.

Whenever any animal or fowl shall be impounded, it shall be the duty of the poundkeeper to, at once or as soon thereafter as practicable, advertise the same for sale by posting writ- ten notices thereof at the front door of the city hall for at least five (5) days before said sale, stating in said notice the time and place of the sale and describing the property to be sold. The animal or fowl shall be sold at the pound by the poundkeeper on the day named in the notice, within legal hours, unless the same is redeemed or replevied prior thereto. (Code 1905, § 334) *State law reference—Municipal authority to provide for impoundment, Miss. Code Ann. 1972, § 21-19-9.

Sec. 6-22. Redemption.

The owner of any impounded animal or fowl may redeem the same at any time before the sale thereof by paying the pound fees which have accrued. If the owner shall not redeem or replevy such impounded animal or fowl, the same shall be sold on the day named in the advertisement or notice. (Code 1905, § 334)

Sec. 6-23. Fees.

A fee of ten dollars ($10.00) and the actual costs of caring for and feeding any animal or fowl impounded under the provisions of this article shall be levied against the same. (Code 1905, § 335)

 

Sec. 6-24. Proceeds of sale paid to clerk.

The poundkeeper shall keep a record of all fees collected for impounding, feeding, and the sale of any animal impounded under the provisions of this chapter, and shall pay to the city clerk such fees when collected and shall at the same time file with the city clerk a report as to the fees collected, from whom the same were collected and the amounts of the same. (Code 1905, §§ 336, 337)

Sec. 6-25. Disposition of proceeds.

The proceeds of all sales of impounded animals or fowl over and above the costs and expenses shall be paid into the city treasury, and shall be paid to the owner by the mayor and city council when satisfactory proof has been furnished that the claimant is entitled to such proceeds. (Code 1905, § 338) Secs. 6-26--6-36. Reserved

 

ARTICLE III ANIMAL CONTROL*

DIVISION 1 GENERALLY

Sec. 6-37. Restrictions on owning, harboring or keeping any animal.

It shall be unlawful for any person to own, harbor or keep any animal within the corporate limits of the City of Columbus, Mississippi, except in compliance with the provisions of this article and the following specific provisions:

(a) All animals within the city above three (3) months of age shall be vaccinated for rabies and subsequently thereafter at least once every twelve (12) months, and shall wear at all times a metal tag provided by the vaccinating veterinarian indicating such vaccination. Mississippi State Department of Health

(b) All animals within the city shall at all times be either:

(1) Kept on or within the premises of their owner.
(2) Securely chained or tied to or on a leash.
(3) Kept within a pen or suitable enclosure from which they are unable to escape.
(4) Kept within the confines of a structure or building. (Ord. of 2-11-86)

Secs. 6-38,6-39. Reserved.

Editor's note—Former §§ 6-38 and 6-39, which pertained to definition and destruction of dangerous, vicious animals and derived from an ordinance adopted Feb. II, 1986, have been deleted at the discretion of the editor, treated as repealed by Art. n, §3 of an ordinance-adopted Dec. 13, 1988, codified herein as Art. IV, dangerous animals, §§ 6-71—6-80.

Sec. 6-40. Health and safety; noisy animals prohibited.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally administer or cause to be administered poison of any sort to any animal or to in any manner intentionally injure, maim or destroy any animal, or place any poison where it may be accessible to any animal; provided, however, any police or humane officer, in the performance of his duties required by this article, may, if absolutely necessary in order to catch an animal for the purpose of impounding it, use such force and means as are necessary therefor.

(b) Any owner or harborer of an animal within the city which is kept in a pen, structure, building or other enclosure is hereby required to keep such enclosure in a sanitary and clean condition so as to prevent disagreeable odors from arising therefrom, and to prevent the presence or breeding of flies, mosquitoes and other pests therein.

(c) It shall be unlawful for any owner or keeper of any animal to permit such animal or animals, by loud and persistent habitual barking, howling or yelping, to disturb any person or neighborhood, and the same is hereby declared to be a public nuisance. It shall not be necessary, for the purposes of this section, to identify and describe the particular animal which is barking, howling or yelping, provided only that it shall be shown who has possession, care, custody or control of said animal. (Ord. of 2-11-86)

Cross reference—Noise, Ch. 19.

Secs. 6-41— 6-50. Reserved.


DIVISION 2. IMPOUNDMENT

Sec. 6-51. Authorized.

Any animal found in violation of the provisions of this article may be seized and impounded by any police or animal control officer. Impoundment may be in any animal shelter designated by the city council. (Ord. of 2-11-86)

Sec. 6-52. Notice to owner.

The owner of any animal impounded under the provisions of this division, if his identity and location can be obtained by reasonable means, a shall within twenty-four (24) hours be notified that his animal has been impounded. (Ord. of 2-11-86)

*Editor's note—Ord. of Feb. II, 1986 amended Art. Ill in its entirety to rea< as herein set out at §§ 6-37-6-40, 6-51-6-57. Former Art. Ill, §§ 6-37-6-40 6-51—6-57,pertained to similar subject matter, derived from Code 1905, § 340 Ord. of Aug. 4, 1932, §§ 1-3; Ord. of Apr. 2, 1963, § 1; and Ord. of June 4, 1974.

Sec. 6-53. Fees.

The following fees shall be charged for the impoundment of any animal under the provisions of this division:

(a) First redemption of animal within calendar year.. $10.00
(b) Second redemption of animal within calendar year $25.00
(c) Third redemption of same animal within calendar year $50.00

Whenever any animal is impounded, an additional fee of three dollars and fifty cents ($3.50) shall be charged for .each day, or fraction thereof, of impoundment for feeding such animal. (Ord. of 2-11-86; Ord. of 8-4-87)

Editor's note—A nonamendatory ordinance adopted Aug. 4, 1987, approved the amendment to a contract between the city and the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society dated Dec. 26, 1985, providing for changes in the amounts of fees and fines to be assessed by the humane society for recovery of animals picked upas strays. At .the discretion of the editor, such changes have been included in S 6,53.

Sec. 6-54. Redemption of unvaccinated animals.

The owner of any impounded animal which has not been vaccinated under this article, upon satisfactory proof of ownership, may redeem his animal by making a deposit often dollars ($10.00) with the poundmaster and shall be allowed twenty-four (24) hours to get such animal vaccinated. If such owner fails to procure a certificate of vaccination within twenty-four (24} hours, the ten dollars ($10.00) deposit shall be forfeited. Upon presentation twenty-four (24) hours of a certificate of vaccination, the deposit shall be refunded. (Ord. of 2-11-86) Mississippi State Department of Health

Sec. 6-55. Redemption by person other than owner.

If the owner of any animal impounded under this division shall fail to redeem such animal within seven (7) days after such impoundment, any other person may, upon complying with the provisions of this division, redeem such animal from the pound and be the lawful owner of such animal thereafter. (Ord. of 2-11-86)

Sec. 6-56. Disposition of unredeemed animals.

All animals may be disposed of after seven (7) days of impoundment, unless impounded for a longer specified time. The poundmaster may dispose of such animals by humane means (Ord. of 2-11-86)

Sec. 6-57. Impoundment of biting animals.

Any person owning or having charge of any animal which has bitten an adult or a child shall immediately surrender said animal to the city or its designee, to be kept by the city or its designee for the period of time in which the symptoms of rabies will or will not become evident; provided, however, that the owner of said animal may, upon permission of the city, place said animal within a veterinarian's clinic for the specific period of time. (Ord. of 2-11-86) Mississippi State Department of Health Sees. 6-58— 6-70. Reserved.


ARTICLE IV. DANGEROUS ANIMALS*

Sec. 6-71. Definitions.

The following animals are hereby found and determined to be dangerous animals and as such are subject to all requirements and provisions of this article:

(1) Any animals, other than domestic dogs and cats, which in a wild state are .carnivorous or poisonous or which, due to their physical makeup or capabilities, are capable of inflicting serious physical harm or death to human beings. This includes, but is not limited to, animals belonging to the cat or snake family including all constrictors, bears, wolverines, badgers, lions, tigers and such other animals as the mayor and city council may from time to time determine by order or resolution to be vicious animals. The secretary- treasurer is authorized to compile and maintain a list of such animals as may be determined to be regulated by this article.

(2) Any pit bull terrier, which shall be herein defined as any Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of Staffordshire bull terrier or American Staffordshire bull terrier so as to be identifiable as partially of the breed of Staffordshire bull terrier or American Staffordshire bull terrier by any qualified veterinarian duly licensed as such by the State of Mississippi.

(3) Any domestic dog or cat or any other animal that exhibits any of the following characteristics:

(a) Without provocation, approaches in a threatening or terrorizing manner any person in atiapparent attitude of attack or exhibits any behavior that constitutes a physical threat of bodily harm to a person upon the streets, sidewalks, any public or common grounds or places or in any other place where such person is conducting himself peaceably and lawfully.

(b) Without provocation, bites, inflicts injury, assaults or otherwise attacks a person, in any place where such person is conducting himself peaceably and lawfully, or attacks another animal when such animal is not on the property of the owner of the attacking animal.

(c) A known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack without provocation, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or their domestic animals.

(d) Owned or' harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or any animal trained for fighting.

(4) For the purposes of this article, a person shall be considered to be peaceably and lawfully upon the private property of an owner of an animal when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by any laws or postal regulations of the United States or any political subdivision thereof or when he is on such property upon invitation, expressed or implied.

(5) The provisions of this section notwithstanding, no animal may be determined to be dangerous due to the fact that it:

(a) Inflicts injury or damage on a person committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the person owning or in possession of the animal, or teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the animal, or committing or attempting to commit a crime.

(b) Inflicts injury or damage on another domestic animal that is or was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the animal.

(c) Takes any action to defend or protect a human being within the immediate vicinity of the animal from an unjustified attack or assault.

(6) Unless specifically stated to the contrary, the following are exempt from the requirements of this article:

(a) Any duly authorized and lawfully operated dealers in animals within the city.

(b) Any lawfully operated circus, carnival, performing act or similar functions and events of a temporary nature as may be authorized by the city.

(c) Dogs or other animals lawfully used to guard private property.

(d) Dogs or other animals assisting a peace officer engaged in law enforcement duties.

(e) Animals in a licensed veterinary, animal or small animal hospital for treatment, or kept in a bona fide educational, medical or other research institution, or in zoos, museums or similar places where such animals are kept as live exhibits or for study. (Ord. of 12.13-88, Art. 1, §1)

•Editor's note—Art. I, §§ 1—8, and Art. II, §§ I and 2, of an ordinance adopted Dec. 13, 1988, being not expressly amendatory of this Code, have been included as Art. IV, §§ 6-71—6-80, at the discretion of the editor. See also the editor's notes to §§ 6-6 and 6-38, 6-39 herein.

Sec. 6-72. Enforcement responsibility.

(a) The police department of the city and any other lawfully designated official or representative of the city shall have the primary duty and responsibility of enforcing the provisions of this article. Any officer of the city's police department and any such designated official or representative is fully authorized and empowered to enforce any and all of the provisions hereof.

(b) Any official or representative of the city, lawfully designated to enforce the provisions of this article, shall have the power and authority to issue summonses returnable to the municipal court or to any other proper authority for violations of this article. Such summonses shall have the same full force and effect as if issued by the police department of the city.

(c) The police department or other designated official or representative of the city may develop and utilize such forms as may be required and necessary to implement these powers and actively enforce this article. (Ord. of 12-13-88, Art. II, § 1)

Sec. 6-73. Licensing, registration and permits.

(a) No dangerous animal may be owned, kept, possessed or harbored within the city without the owner or person in possession or control of such animal first obtaining a license or permit from the city. An application for such license or permit shall include the name and address of the owner, the address at which the animal will be located or confined, a description of measures to be taken to secure the animal, a complete description of the animal including type of animal, sex, color and other distinguishing marks and, at the city's discretion, a photograph of the animal.

(b) Persons owning or in possession or control of dangerous animals shall, upon the birth, death or transfer of such animals, report said fact to the city. A separate license or permit shall be issued for each dangerous animal. Upon the transfer of any dangerous animal, a statement shall be filed with the city staling the name and address of the person to whom the animal is sold or transferred and the address at which the animal is to be located, if known.

(c) The application for such permit must be signed and dated by the owner of the dangerous animal. The owner must sign a statement attesting to the fact tliat all provisions of this article have been and will be complied with in their entirety and that the city shall be notified immediately of any attack or other violation of this article by such animal in his possession or control.

(d) The mayor and city council may establish from time to time fees for the issuance of said license or permit. Said fees may apply to the initial issuance of such license or permit and any required renewals, at the discretion of the mayor and city council.

(e) Any license or permit issued pursuant to this article shall be revocable upon any noncompliance with any of the terms of this article by any person owning or in possession or control of any dangerous animal. (Ord. of 12-13-88, Art. I, § 2)

Sec. 6-74. Posting of premises.

(a) All premises upon which a dangerous animal is kept, possessed or harbored shall be posted with signs that are conspicuously visible to the public and legible from property, public or private, adjacent to such premises. Such signs or notices shall contain letters of not less than two (2) inches in height and a message sufficient to warn the general public of the presence of the dangerous animal. Such signs shall be placed at all locations where entry to the owner's property is common and expected and upon all enclosures within which dangerous animals are confined, including residences and other structures.

(b) The absence of any required signs shall be considered prima facie evidence of a violation of this section. Signs shall be constructed and maintained in a manner to withstand the elements.

(c) Notwithstanding the exemptions granted in section 6-71(6) of this article, the requirements of this section shall apply to all duly authorized and lawfully operated dealers in animals within the city, any lawfully operated circus, carnival, performing act or similar functions and events of a temporary nature as may be authorized by the city, and to any premises utilizing dogs or other animals lawfully for guard purposes. (Ord. of 12-13-88, Art. I, §2)

Sec. 6-75. Confinement required.

(a) All dangerous animals shall be kept confined within the residence or other permanent structure on the premises of the owner or other person in possession or control of such animals or within an enclosure as herein defined.

(b) All dangerous animals to be kept on the premises of the owner or person having possession or control of such animals, and not within the residence or other permanent structure, shall be confined within a fence or structure area of at least four (4) feet in height forming a confined area sufficient to prevent the entry of young children and, in conjunction with tethering or other measures, effective in containing a dangerous animal. Such enclosure shall be securely closed and locked and equipped with secure sides, top and bottom and shall be designed to prevent the animal from escaping the enclosure. The bottom of such enclosure shall be concrete, and the sides and top shall be constructed of steel wire or other materials sufficient to prevent the animal from escaping the enclosure. The city reserves the right to issue more specific confinement requirements in instances where enclosures prove to be insufficient to prevent escape of such animals or to prevent such animals from coming into contact with people adjacent to such enclosures.

(c) Such enclosure, fence or structure must be at least five (5) feet from any fenced property line of the owner or person in control or possession of such animals, provided that such enclosure, fence or structure is within a separately and totally enclosed fenced area. In the event that the area of the property of the owner or person in control or possession of such animals, devoted to the confinement or enclosure of such animals, is not within a separately and totally enclosed fenced area, any animals confined in such enclosure must be securely tethered or otherwise restrained so that they cannot come within five (5) feet of the walls of the enclosure or area within which they are confined.

(d) No dangerous animal shall be allowed outside of the residence or required enclosure, unless it is securely muzzled and restrained, with a chain having a minimum tensile strength of three hundred (300) pounds and not .-exceeding three (3) feet in length, and under the direct control and Supervision of the owner.

(e) In lieu of the requirement that the fence or structure area have a concrete bottom, the fence or sides of each structure area must be embedded in the ground to a depth of two (2) feet, provided such animal to be confined is not a burrowing animal. (Ord. of 12-13-88, Art. I, § 4)

Sec. 6-76. Determination of status; impoundment; redemption or disposition of dangerous animals.

(a) Any police officer or any other lawfully designated official or representative of the city shall have the right to enter any private property for the purpose of inspecting said property for the presence of dangerous animals or for performance of other duties in the enforcement of this article. Any police officer or other lawfully designated official or representative of the city, having probable cause to believe that an animal is dangerous, shall conduct or cause to be conducted an investigation into the facts of each such case. The owner of the animal shall be notified of the investigation and shall have the opportunity to present evidence as to why the animal should not be determined to be dangerous. The results of any investigation with respect to a particular animal shall not bar the city from investigating any Subsequent actions of the animal.

(b) Should any police officer or other designated official or representative of the city have reason to believe that an animal is vicious and may pose a threat of serious harm to persons or other domestic animals, said officer or official may immediately seize and impound the animal pending an investigation as described herein.

(c) Any police officer or other lawfully designated official or representative of the city, upon complaint by any citizen or on his own initiative, may make inquiries to determine compliance with this article and may seize and impound any animal found in violation of any of its provisions.

(d) If any animal is caused or permitted, or is found to be within the corporate limits of the city and in violation of the provisions of this article, such animal may be apprehended and impounded by any police officer or other designated official (s) of the city, to be held or disposed of as herein provided.

(e) If any such animal is so impounded, the same shall be released to the owner thereof only if payment is made, within five (5) working days to the city or its designee, of such sums as may be designated from time to time by the mayor and city council for compensation for catching or otherwise apprehending such animal and for harboring and caring for such animal on a daily basis during the time of impoundment.

(f) In addition to or in lieu of impounding an animal found in violation of this article, any police officer or designated official (s) of the city may issue to the person known to own or be in possession or control of such animal a citation for any violations of this article. Any fines imposed, as set from time to time by the mayor and city council, shall be paid within three (3) working days of such citation. If such fine is not paid within the time prescribed, a criminal warrant shall be issued for such person, who may, upon conviction of such offense before the municipal court, be punished as allowed by law.

(g) All fees and fines imposed pursuant to this section shall be paid by any violator, and all other requirements of this article with respect to a dangerous animal shall be met before an animal impounded pursuant to this article shall be released. If such fees and fines are not paid within five (5) working days, then any such animal so impounded may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of. (Ord. of 12-13-88, Art. 1, §5)

Sec. 6-77. Killing of dangerous animals; when authorized.

When any dangerous animal, in the judgment of any police officer or other designated official or representative of the city, poses a serious and immediate threat of serious harm or injury to human life, it shall be the lawful duty of such officer to kill such animal, without requiring such officer or official to catch, restrain or impound such animal. (Ord. of 12-13-88, Art. I, § 6)

Sec. 6-78. Penalties.

(a) The failure or refusal of any person to comply with any of the provisions of this article and the violation of any provision of this article by any; person shall constitute a misdemeanor. Any person deemed guilty of any Violation of any provision of this article shall, on conviction thereof, be subject to punishment allowed by law. The municipal court is hereby authorized to establish a schedule of penalties for various offenses, subject to review by the mayor and city council of the city.

(b) Continuance of a specific violation for each separate day shall constitute a separate offense. (Ord. of 12-13-88, Art. II, § 2)

Sec. 6-79. Additional remedies for violations.

(a) Should any dangerous animal, when unprovoked, kill or wound or assist in killing or wounding any livestock, fowl or other domestic animal belonging to or in possession of any person, or attack, bite or otherwise assault or injure any human being or assist in doing so, whether out of or within any required enclosure of the owner or person in possession or control or whether on or off the property of the owner, whether or not such animal is leashed or muzzled and whether or not such animal escaped without the fault of the owner, the owner of the animal shall be liable to the person aggrieved for all damages sustained, to be recovered in a civil action with costs of suit. It is rebuttably presumed as a matter of law that the owning, keeping or harbouring of a dangerous animal in violation of this article is a nuisance. It shall not be necessary, in order to sustain such action, to prove that the owner of such dangerous animal knew that the animal possessed the propensity to cause such damage or that the animal had a dangerous nature.

(b) In addition to any damages awarded pursuant to this section, a civil penalty of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) per incident or attack may be imposed by any court of competent jurisdiction.

(c) Nothing in this article shall be construed so as to restrict any other remedies at law available to persons aggrieved by any attack of a vicious animal, nor so as to prohibit criminal prosecution of persons owning or in possession of such animals as may be allowed by law.

(d) Should any employee of or person carrying out contractual responsibilities for the City of Columbus be attacked by any dangerous animal or other animal, while engaged in the lawful performance of his official duties," any rights, privileges or services enjoyed 'by the residents of property on which the attack occurs or by the owner of such animal, at the discretion of the city, may be immediately terminated without further notice. This includes, but is not limited to, termination of water, sewer and electrical service, termination of garbage pickup service, revocation of building permits or privilege licenses. (Ord. of 12-13-88, Art. I, § 7)

Sec. 6-80. Insurance requirement (optional).

Any person owning or having control or possession of any dangerous animal within the corporate limits of the city shall obtain and maintain liability insurance, covering any damage or injury that may be caused by such vicious animal, in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) for any single incident. Such policy shall contain a provision that the city be named as additional insured, for the sole purpose of being notified by the insurance company of any cancellation, termination or expiration of the insurance policy. (Ord. of 12-13-88, Art. I, § 8)

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