City proposing changes to animal ordinance

City officials are considering changes to the animal code.

If approved, the major changes include:

  • a new provision that would prohibit owning bee hives if a neighbor has a medically documented bee allergy;
  • a more formal complaint procedure, requiring name, address, contact information and documentation supporting the complaint;
  • regulating potentially dangerous or dangerous animals;
  • creating an appeal process for those denied a breeder licenses;
  • adding additional penalties to owners of nuisance, dangerous and/or at-large animals;
  • clarifying the number of animals allowed without a multiple animal permit;
  • and the city shelter will no longer take animals from owners to be euthanized, owners will have to have a veterinarian perform that service.

Joe Cik, deputy city attorney, reviewed the proposed code revisions with the City Commission during the May 2 work session.

The proposed code update still prohibits chickens in the city limits.

Revisions to the animal code are another step in the city’s effort to clean up the municipal code for clarity, contradictions and outdated information.

Making the animal code as specific also aids officials in enforcing the code, Cik said.

Large changes include formatting and numbering, a larger definitions section and more references to the Administrative Rules of Monana, especially regarding rabies.

The rules regarding rabies change regularly, Cik said, and the city code related to those issues are currently specific and often in conflict wiht the state rules.

Cik said the revisions also clean up terminology regarding the city animal shelter and designating the correct agencies for various animal control functions.

The proposed code allows city residents to have two cats and/or two dogs older than four months before they need a multiple animal permit. If a person had three dogs and one cat, they’d still be required to obtain a multiple animal permit, under the proposed code revisions.

The proposed revisions continue to require that Great Falls residents register any dog or cat older than four months.

The proposed code revision involve the city attorney’s office, the city prosecutors office, the city manager’s office, the Great Falls Animal Shelter, Planning and Community Development, Great Falls Police Department, the City Commission and the Cascade City County Health Department.

City Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes later this summer.