ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JULIE ANDERSON
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
?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
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
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
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
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JULIE ANDERSON