KINGMAN — The Mohave County Board of Supervisors tabled a plan to update the animal control ordinance during its meeting on Monday.
Questions arose about revisions created over about 18 months.
As proposed, the ordinance “especially affects people who are financially challenged,” said Jennifer Esposito, because of there being a bond requirement that declares an animal abandoned if its owner fails to post a bond within 10 days after its seizure. That would make the animal county property, according to the revised code.
The county would be taking property — in such situations the property being someone’s pet — without due process, Esposito told the board members.
She pointed out that the new 25-page version states that a dog or cat could be sold well before its owner is “convicted of any crime” and that such an occurrence would be “mind-numbingly horrible.”
“What if that person is acquitted?” Esposito asked. “How do you make that person whole?”
It would allow the county to spay or neuter a purebred dog so it could be put up for adoption. The owner, if cleared of the accusation or offense, would lose the animal’s breeding value, Esposito said to provide an example.
“The bond is to pay for the upkeep of the animal,” said Sup. Ron Gould. “It’s so they don’t leave the animal there.”
Esposito also criticized as impractical a provision that would call for fencing dogs on even extraordinarily large properties.
Gould said it should be OK for dogs to be loose on their owner’s unfenced property as long as the animal “is under the owner’s control.”
“I think this is going to create a problem for rural people,” Gould said. “I choose not to fence my 40-acre parcel. To fence it would cost about $20,000.”
“In my area, dogs have become problems. They get in packs and run for miles and miles,” said Sup. Jean Bishop. She also noted that her neighborhood isn’t as rural as Gould’s.
Board President Hildy Angius said she has heard from people concerned about seeing dogs tethered on large pieces of property.
County Attorney Ryan Esplin said much of the wording used in the updated ordinance comes from state rules. The forfeiture wording comes from the state, for example.
While the county also sought out other suggestions to create the document, “we don’t want to be inconsistent with state law,” Esplin said.
Esplin also is tasked with identifying for the board members the origins of various sections of the proposed ordinance.
Some parts might mirror federal law.
The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, signed in November by President Donald Trump, focuses on making certain acts of animal cruelty a federal felony when done in interstate commerce or on federal property, according to the Associated Press.
The matter will be brought back when the supervisors are scheduled to meet again, on Jan. 6.
No flag incinerator coming to landfill
The board decided against further pursuit of adding a special incinerator to the Mohave Valley Landfill to accept and retire used American flags.
County staff came back with a report stating that such an item would cost the county $50,000 — excluding fuel and labor costs of about $2,000. The county also might have needed to obtain a permit to operate the incinerator from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, which would have cost $20,000 alone, though the permitting cost was part of the $50,000 estimate.
The request to the county for assistance came from the Lake Havasu City Elks who, with other veterans groups there, have accepted used American flags for disposal by burning them in “a prescribed reverent manner,” according to the staff report.
The city’s fire department canceled this year’s flag retirement ceremony and opted out of participating in burning used flags, however.
In 2018, the Lake Havasu Elks retired 3,000 used flags.
Staff noted that there are other groups in and around Lake Havasu City that accept used flags, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Boy Scouts of America. And even though many of the Lake Havasu-area groups don’t conduct flag burning ceremonies, people can look to organizations in Bullhead City and Kingman for such service.