Pet provisions

Pets are thought of as loving companions by most people…until those

pets begin to bother the neighbors.

Most animals are regulated by ordinance within Hillsboro. Those

ordinances spell out what animals?and how many?a person can own, and

where they can be kept.

?I guess we really don?t define ?pet? here,? said Dan Kinning,

Hillsboro police chief. ?I suppose any animal a person keeps for

personal reasons other than for some type of profit becomes a pet.?

The primary animals local police deal with are dogs. Complaints range

from dogs running loose to those that disturb the peace.

If a dog is loose, police are authorized to capture it and transport

it to a veterinarian or return it to the owner.

?We try to give (dog owners) a warning first,? Kinning said.

If the dog is impounded, the owner has to pay an impound fee to the

city, a boarding fee to the veterinarian and, if a citation is given,

a fine set by a judge.

?I would really encourage people to tag their dogs,? Kinning said. ?If

we pick up a dog and it?s impounded, it?s kept for 72 hours, then it?s

destroyed. A tag makes it a lot easier for us to identify the owner.

That doesn?t mean we won?t impound it, though.?

Although police can pick up loose dogs, they have fewer options with

barking dogs.

?The problem with barking dogs is we need to be able to go over there

and show that the dog is barking and disturbing the peace,? Kinning

said. ?Usually when we show up, it?s every dog in the neighborhood

(that?s barking).?

He said once one dog starts others chime in and the original

perpetrator is hard to pinpoint.

Kinning encourages people who live next to loud dogs to try to work

out the problem with their neighbor before calling the police.

By ordinance, every adult dog must be registered with the city clerk,

have a tag, and be vaccinated. A dog is considered an adult when it is

more than six months old.

Owners can have up to three adult dogs, but they can have as many

puppies as they want.

Cats, meanwhile, are not as regulated as their canine companions.

?The only (regulation) we have is that all cats must be immunized,?

Kinning said. ?They don?t have to be registered or tagged. I?ve never

seen a town that regulates cats.?

Although the department gets complaints about wandering cats, officers

can?t do a lot about them.

?We hate to destroy someone?s pet, and it is kind of hard for us to

determine what is a stray animal and what?s a pet,? he said. ?We do

have some (cats) that probably live in the alleyways downtown. But

they do their job keeping the rodents down.

In addition to regulations for cats and dogs, ordinances address more

unusual animals, too. Some animals simply are not allowed in towns, or

are strictly limited by city and state regulations.

Pit bull dogs, for instance, are strictly regulated. They cannot go

outside of the kennel or pen unless on a leash that is no longer than

four feet long. They must also be muzzled to prevent biting.

Regulations also cover the kinds of structures in which pit bulls can

be kept.

In addition to pit bull dogs, any warm-blooded, carnivorous or

omnivorous, wild or exotic animal cannot be kept within the city

limits. This excludes fowl, ferrets and small rodents of the varieties

used for laboratory purposes.

It also is unlawful for a person to keep any swine, hog pens or

stables within 50 feet of a dwelling or business, or for them to

become a nuisance.

Kinning said pot-bellied pigs, which were popular a few years ago, do

not fall into the category of swine and would be considered a pet

since they usually are kept in the house.

It also is legal to keep chickens in town as long as they are in a pen

and do not become a health hazard or nuisance.

?I know we have a couple of places here in town that have chickens in

a pen in the backyard,? he said. ?That?s regulated by our public

health officer.?

The final type of animal police have to deal with are wild animals.

Foxes, for instance, have lived in Hillsboro for brief periods.

?We do not want them living in the interior of town,? Kinning said. ?I

think we?ve got a lot of them living right on the edge of town.?

He said foxes live near towns to protect themselves from coyotes.

?I would encourage people not to feed foxes,? he said. ?Number one, it

keeps them in town. Number two, it makes them lose their fear of


Although foxes may act tame, Kinning said they are not. They are

particularly dangerous for a young child, who may not know the

difference between a fox and a pup.

The goose is another wild animal that often make its home here.

?Geese can be a real problem too,? Kinning said. ?Once they set up a

nest and the eggs hatch, they come back every year. Before you know

it, y

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