County mulling lenient animal rules

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer

Roosevelt County could have more lenient rules on dogs and cats running loose if the county commission votes for changes in the relevant ordinance today.

The commission meeting is set for 9 a.m. in the county courthouse.

County Attorney Rick Queener said the county is considering changing a county ordinance to allow pet owners two warning citations for their dogs or cats running loose before they’re cited to appear in Magistrate Court.

Owners currently do not receive warnings.

“So we’re trying to be kinder and gentler,” Queener said.

The exception to the rule would be if the animal was causing injury to humans, livestock or poultry, or damaging property, he said. In that case, deputies could at their discretion cite the owner or, if they caught the animal in the act, kill it as state law allows.

Also, the changes cite state statutes that allow deputies to take an animal to the pound if they can’t identify the owner.

The issue arose when people who had received citations for loose pets complained to county commissioners, asking why they were cited when they lived out in the country, Queener said.

The attorney said he was just giving the commissioners options.

“If they don’t like it, we’ll go back and revise it again,” he said.

Sheriff Darren Hooker agreed with the proposed changes.

“I concur with all of the new provisions set forth in that ordinance, and my office will continue to support the commission and the county in whatever they choose,” he said.