Updates possible for City of Opelika’s animal ordinance

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By Michelle Key
Publisher

During last week’s Opelika City Council work session, council members discussed several areas of the city’s animal ordinance (Chapter 4) that need to be updated.
The first change would involve changing the name of the chapter from the current “Animals and Fowl” to a broader title of “Animal Control.”
Section 4.1 states the purpose of the ordinance and would read as follows:
The purpose of the purpose of this chapter is to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the City of Opelika and to ensure the humane treatment of animals by regulating the care and control of animals within the City.
Other changes would include but are not limited to:
• defining nuisances
• the keeping of exotic animals
• cruelty to animals
• the hoarding of animals
• animals in vehicles -when the conditions inside a parked motor vehicle constitute an imminent threat to the animal’s health or safety, any animal left in a parked vehicle may be removed from that vehicle by an Animal Control Officer or any law enforcement officer.
• the tethering of dogs
• the keeping of dangerous dogs
• the keeping of other animals such as hogs, chickens, goats and so forth. The proposed ordinance would prohibit the keeping of hogs and pigs, including miniature and Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, in the corporate limits of the City but would allow for the keeping of chickens as long as certain rules and regulations are followed.
Large animals, such as mules, cows, sheep, goats, fowl and other such farm animals may only be kept or maintained on lots of three (3) acres or more in the R-1 (Rural) Zoning District. Horses may be maintained only in the R-1 (Rural) District on lots of two (2) acres or more with a limit of one (1) horse per acre.
• Rabies control
• Impoundment, redemption and destruction of animals
• Enforcement of regulations, including citations, warrants and fees as applicable.
This proposed updated ordinance is extensive and a draft copy of the entire proposal can be accessed by the public by visiting the city’s website www.opelika-al.gov and clicking “council meeting information” from the menu.
The proposed ordinance will be voted on during the Feb. 19 council meeting.
Council meetings are held at city hall and are open to the public. All are invited to attend.

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