County OKs dog ordinance

Commissioners approved a new ordinance that allows rescue groups, fanciers and breeders to have six dogs on five-acre properties, rather than limiting that number to three as stated previously.

The revision also allows eight dogs over the age of six months on parcels of five acres or more.

Nothing has changed for regular dog owners unless there is some sort of special circumstance and a special permit is needed, said county commissioner Doug Johnson.

"The other issue we've addressed concerns barking dogs," he said. "Animal control officers will be a little more proactive, making physical contact with those who own barking dogs."

Communications Director Dick Mirgon said the special facilities will be held to a standard. They must be licensed and will be reviewed if they become a nuisance.

"In my mind, this new ordinance resolves a majority of the issues," he said.

Problems arose after a neighbor complained about herd dog rescuer Kathy Givens, charging she had too many dogs on her Johnson Lane property. Givens said she has rescued about 700 dogs in the five years she has been doing this work.

She also trains the animals and many have gone on to become champions in herding competitions.

Givens said she appreciated the effort by Mirgon and other county officials, but rescue groups were included with profit-making organizations and that isn't realistic. The critical and immediate need for rescue shelters can mean more than six dogs will be with her for short periods.

"I just got home from vacation in Oregon and there were 138 e-mails and 59 phone calls, all with emergency situations in Douglas County," she said. "I agree with everything in the new ordinance except that it does not include variance for a short stay."

She cited an example of a man who is dying and needed to place his dogs.

"When the shelters are full, the only place for these animals is rescue," she said.

Mirgon said having an extra dog or dogs for short periods is not an issue.

Commissioner Tim Smith said the ordinance is not carved in stone and if problems arise, modifications can be made.

In other business:

• Commissioners gave the final nod to three questions for the general election ballot in November.

An advisory question will ask voters to support a .5 percent increase in sales tax, the funding to be used for police officers and other personnel in the criminal justice system as well as additional facilities.

If approved in the upcoming general election, a quarter-cent sales tax will support facilities and services for senior citizens, libraries, parks, recreational programs and to preserve agriculture.

The third, a property tax override question, would be used for the operation and maintenance of museums operated by the Douglas County Historical Society.

Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment