G.I. City Council Set to Discuss Animal Code Overhaul - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

G.I. City Council Set to Discuss Animal Code Overhaul

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Higher fines and harsher penalties could be in store for Grand Island pet owners who break the law under proposed changes.

It's something the Central Nebraska Humane Society and the city attorney's office has been working on for more than a year.

Now the City Council is set to discuss the 50 page packet that addresses everything animal related in Grand Island.

A barking dog could mean big fines under the proposed changes and, for the first time, animal control officers could be the ones handing out citations.

"That's been a difficult situation and one of the most frustrating for the community to deal with because they usually have to fill out paperwork and go to court," said Laurie Dethloff, CNHS executive director.

Dethloff said a lot people are scared to start trouble in their neighborhood, or simply give up on the complaint.

The new citations could cost owners of barking dogs $25 for the first offense and $100 for the second offense.

Dealing with those who keep breaking city code as been another frustration, according to Dethloff.

But, under the changes, the rules to label someone a nuisance owner have been reworked.

"To be able to have some consequences for a person that is habitually breaking the animal codes," explained Dethloff.

A nuisance owner could be prohibited from owning any animal within city limits for two years under the proposal.

Then, there's the approved animal list.

Since it was reviewed in 1998, some species on it have been named endangered or venomous.

Updating that list and adding a fine for those who don't register their wild animals are part of the changes.

Officials said it's all about being prepared.

"If we have a lot more snakes in the community then we need to be able to adapt to that situation," said Dethloff.

She said some of the proposals could be enforced outside Grand Island city limits eventually.

"As we move forward and we start working with Hall County they can adopt different animal codes that they also want within the county," said Dethloff.

She wants to make sure the public understands these changes before they potentially go to a vote.

Dethloff said she hopes people will turn out to Tuesday's study session on the issue.

It's at 7:00 p.m. at G.I. City Hall.

To see all the proposed changes, click here.

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