Hillsboro discusses dog confinement ordinance

The Hillsboro City Council met on Tuesday, April 4 where they returned to an earlier discussion on the need to expand the definition of dog confinement as described in the city code.

City Administrator Matt Stiles explained that Ordinance 1366 is an expanded definition of dog confinement and has two minor changes from the previous version reviewed by the council. In 2-208 (b) the term “by other means” was added to the listed methods for securing a dog in the open bed of a truck.

He said, “The other change refers to the designation of a dangerous animal. In the previous version it indicated that the animal control officer makes that designation, however only the municipal court is allowed to make that designation. All other provisions remain unchanged.”

The ordinance states that all dogs must be confined to the residential property of the owner. If the dog is taken off the residential property, they must be on a leash, no longer than 10 feet in length and the leash and animal must be under the control of a responsible person.

All dogs determined to be vicious and registered as vicious animals should be muzzled when off the residential property and should be under the control of an adult.

Dogs must be confined in a cage or within the enclosed interior of a motor vehicle. It is a violation for a dog to be transported in the open bed of a truck unless restrained in a cage, on a leash or by other means that will prevent the animal from jumping or falling off the vehicle.

Due to ongoing issues of dogs not being managed properly on their properties and alarming passerbys, the city addressed it all in the ordinance which states “if the dog is in the physical presence of its owner, keeper, or harborer and on its owner’s, keeper’s or harborer’s property and under the demonstrated direct and immediate voice control of its owner, keeper or harborer, it shall be considered confined to the residential property of its owner, keeper or harborer. It shall not be considered confined to the residential property of the owner, keeper or harborer, if the dog is off the property of the owner, keeper or harborer, whether it is under the demonstrated direct and immediate voice control of its owner, keeper or harborer or not.

The ordinance also clarified that dogs may be confined to the premises of a residential property by an electronic fence or an electronic collar. But dogs confined by an electronic fence or an electronic collar are not allowed to be nearer than 10 feet away from any public sidewalk or property line that is contiguous to neighboring property. Dogs are also not allowed to be confined by an electronic fence or an electronic collar in the front yards of a property. No dog declared a dangerous animal by the municipal court can be confined by an electronic fence or an electronic collar. All owners who use an electronic fence must clearly post on their property to indicate an electronic fence or electronic collar. Electronic collars may not be used to control a dog when it is off its property.

The Council set a public hearing for the ordinance at their April 18 meeting. They will vote on it after the hearing.

The Council approved an equipment lease/purchase agreement for equipment needed for the city. The following items were approved:

Prairie Wolf Fire Brush Truck – $115,655.00

Ventrac 4520Z Mower and Deck – $43,806.84

Multi Pro 1750 Sprayer – $63,119.34

2014 Autocar ACX 64 Trash Truck – $159,500.00

TBD Dump Truck – $130,000.00

In other business, the council:

  •  heard that the city determined in conversations with a potential restauranteur that the golf clubhouse was too expensive to do a major renovation to. Instead the city will be doing some upgrading and remodeling including painting, patching and cleaning up the existing space.
  • were told that the city has sent out letters to landlords asking their help in sharing information about their properties. There have also been some changes to how the city is enforcing existing regulations that impact landlords and tenants. They hope to have all the requested information back in April.
  • were informed that the city has opted to switch their current server backup system to a more modern cloud-based system in an effort to improve network safety and security. The new system is more expensive, but it does not require physical backup drives and provides significantly more security checks of data and backups.
  • learned that the cast iron grill in the east shelter chimney was ripped out of the wall sometime over the weekend. The damage was discovered by Spring Branch as they were working on roof replacement. The grill was destroyed by rust and will not be replaced. Spring Branch will remove it as part of their roof project.
  • received a sales tax update. The March distribution was $79,454.51. Overall collections are 13% above the same period for 2022. From a historical perspective, 2022 was the best year on record for sales tax, totaling $1,028,095.88 in 2022.
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