Goessel council sets fireworks times, passes dog ordinance

by Cynthia Goerzen

The Free Press

The Goessel City Council decided at its June 18 meeting on times and days that fireworks will be allowed within the city limits.

Fireworks will be allowed on the following days: 8 a.m to 10 p.m., Sunday and Monday, July 1-2; 8 a.m. to midnight Tuesday, July 3. and 8 a.m to 11 p.m Wednes­day, July 4.

In addition, the council granted a request for anyone to discharge fireworks on the Saturday of Threshing Days, from noon to 11 p.m. Aug. 4. The public should note that no fireworks will be allowed if a burn ban is in place.

Dog ordinance

The council spent considerable time discussing Ordinance 277 about dogs. The six-page ordinance provides for ticketing and fines for dogs running at large, prohibits dogs from being a nuisance or disturbing the peace, sets regulations for dangerous and vicious dogs, and stipulates penalties for violations.

The city’s attorney, Josh Boehm, answered questions and provided clarification. Six residents also attended the meeting.

Section 1a of the ordinance states the purpose of the ordinance is to provide a procedure to address dogs running at large within the city, to establish requirements regarding registration and ownership of dogs, and to provide a procedure for dealing with keepers of dogs that create problems.

The ordinance stipulates that dogs need to be registered annually with the city clerk, no later than Aug. 1. New dogs need to be registered within 10 days. Section 6 of the ordinance states: “It shall be unlawful for an owner to fail to register a dog kept within the city limits….”

Dog owners need to provide a certificate of immunization for rabies from a licensed veterinarian, showing that the immunization will be effective for the year in which the dog is licensed.

The ordinance sets a limit on how many dogs are allowed: “No more than two dogs shall be permitted to be registered at any one physical address.” The ordinance goes on to state providing incorrect information is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor.

Registration fees are as follows: $4 for an animal that is neutered or spayed, $7 if not neutered, $12 if not spayed. Fees will not be prorated over the calendar year, and there is a penalty for late registration.

After registration is complete, a metallic tag will be provided and should be placed on the dog’s collar. The tag is to be worn constantly; it is unlawful for the owner to fail to attach and maintain city dog registration tags.

Immunization information will be a matter of public record. Section 8 of the ordinance states that vaccination for rabies by a licensed veterinarian is required for dogs six months or older, and cats four months or older.

Section 9 of the ordinance states: “It shall be unlawful for the owner, keeper, or harborer of any dog to allow such dog to run at large within the City at any time.”

Allowing a dog to run at large shall be a Class C violation, punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment up to 30 days. Boehm clarified that if more than one dog gets out, there will be a fine for each dog.

Fines are as follows: first offense $50, second offense $100, third offense $250, fourth offense $500, fifth offense $500 and the court may issue restrictions on future dog ownership.

If the dog destroys property while running at large, the municipal judge might consider restitution in addition to the above fines.

A question was asked about dogs that come into town. The answer is that the ordinance applies to all dogs: “A dog at large is at large.”

The ordinance stipulates that the number of offenses refers to how many times the dog owner has a dog running at large. Offenses will be tracked, beginning July 1.

Section 10 states the owner or keeper of a dog that disturbs the peace or is otherwise a nuisance will be subject to a fine of $10 to $100 and other lawful sanction.

Section 11 addresses biting: “If any dog shall bite or tear the clothes of any person with its teeth, whether upon the premises of the owner or keeper or on any other premises, it shall be the right of the person so damaged, or any other person having information… to file a complaint… with the Police Officer…”

The ordinance stipulates requirements for dealing with such a dog. For example, the owner/keeper is required to immediately place the dog in a licensed veterinarian hospital at the owner/keeper’s expense for at least 10 days and notify the city clerk. A fine of $50 to $200 will be imposed for failure to follow this regulation.

The ordinance defines “potentially dangerous dog” as: any unprovoked dog that engages in behavior that requires a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury or any unprovoked dog that bites a person.

A dangerous dog would cause an injury that is not considered severe. The potentially dangerous designation will be noted in the registration records of the dog.

If an unprovoked dog would aggressively attack and severely injure a human or a domestic animal, that dog would be labeled “vicious.”

A dog that is found to be vicious may be destroyed if the release of the dog would create a significant threat to public health, safety, and welfare.

If the dog is not destroyed, the municipal judge will impose conditions upon the owner to protect the public. The ordinance also stipulates instances in which the dog would not be considered vicious.

In addition, if a dog causes non-severe injuries twice, it would be considered vicious.

The owner of a dog determined to be vicious may be prohibited from owning any dog for up to three years.

Section 14 states again: “There shall not be more than two dogs registered at any residential address within the City.”

Violations not otherwise defined will be treated as a Class C misdemeanor, according to the Uniform Public Offense Code, and penalties will be assessed accordingly.

Ordinance 277 passed unanimously and repeals any previous ordinance pertaining to dogs.