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Jonesboro Council to review animal ordinance

BY Sara Barker - sbarker@chronicle-tribune.com

The Jonesboro City Council will look at approving an animal ordinance at its meeting tonight.

The ordinance, Jonesboro mayor Bob McNutt said, is a consolidation of previous existing animal control ordinances and amendments to them.

“We’ve got several animal ordinances on the books, and we wanted to combine them and straighten them,” the mayor said.

Brittany Couse, the Jonesboro clerk-treasurer, said this consolidation is one step in an effort to organize Jonesboro regulations and streamline legal processes.

“Say we have an ordinance from ‘85 and an amendment from ‘99,” Couse said. “These will consolidate, so we don’t have to go far back and dig for what’s currently in place.”

Couse also said McNutt wanted to organize while he was still in office.

“He just wants to make sure that everything is in order,” Couse said.

Although this is combining what has previously been law in Jonesboro, a couple of new additions are included in the ordinance that will be heard for a second time tonight.

One, McNutt said, is a requirement for dog and cat owners to get an animal tag yearly and have it on their pet’s collar, along with their rabies tag, at all times.

The animal tag costs five dollars. To get the tag, the owner must have proof of vaccinations and renew the tag by March 1 each year. New pet owners have 30 days to get their animal a tag.

McNutt said this is in response to stray animals in Jonesboro, and tagging them will help connect the lost animal to its owner. This part of the ordinance likely will not be enforced until next spring, he said.

“That probably won’t be a 100 percent success, but it is a step in the right direction,” McNutt said.

Couse said an update to the ordinance is language regarding service dogs. The proposed ordinance says that certified service dogs can’t be excluded from a public place or event, and must always be with their owner or a certified trainer.

Other violations in the ordinance include not properly restraining animals in a car, not having a breeder’s permit and not cleaning up dog feces on public or private property.

The first reading of the proposed ordinance was about a month ago, McNutt said. If the Council doesn’t make any major changes to the ordinance and it is passed Tuesday, McNutt said it will begin to be enforced about 30 days after.

The Jonesboro City Council will meet at 7 p.m. at the Jonesboro City Hall to discuss the second reading and passage of the proposed animal control ordinance.