County Dog Control Ordinance [ Back to department ]

County Ordinance 2

WHEREAS, Cascade County, Montana, does from time to time experience problems with dogs at large within Cascade County, with dogs harassing livestock, attacking people, causing certain undesirable and unsightly conditions to exist, destroying property, causing more unwanted dogs, causing increased health problems and experiences problems with animals not receiving proper food, water, shelter, and care;

WHEREAS, the Montana Legislature has authorized the local government subdivisions to adopt ordinances; and

WHEREAS, Section 7-23-2108, MCA, authorizes the county governing body to control dogs through adoption of an ordinance;

Now, THEREFORE, in order to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of Cascade County, Montana, to control the stray dog population, to prevent dogs from running at large, and to prevent abandonment, neglect, or abuse of dogs within Cascade County,

IT IS HEARBY RESOLVED that the following ordinance be adopted:

Section 1. Definitions.

A. "Owner" means any person owning, keeping, or harboring a dog, whether under claim of title, custody, or exercise of dominion and control.
B. "At large" means off the premises of the owner and not under the control or management of the owner.
C. "Vaccinate" or "immunization" means to inoculate or vaccinate with any vaccine or serum by a licensed veterinarian of the diseases listed herein. Distemper and parvovirus immunization may be administered by the owner.
D. "Animal Control Officer" means the Sheriff of Cascade County, or any one or more of the employees of Cascade County designated by the Cascade County Commissioners as animal control officer.
E. "Vicious dog" means any fierce, dangerous, or uncontrolled dog that, unprovoked, has attacked or bitten a person not trespassing upon the owner’s property or attempting to injure said owner.
F. "Abandoned dog" means any dog left unattended by the owner or person charged with the custody thereof on the property of the owner, or leashed premises of the owner, for more than three (3) consecutive days, or any dog allowed to run at large without an attempt on the part of the owner or person responsible for the custody of said dog to exercise control over said dog within a period of three (3) consecutive days.
G. "Neglected dog" means any animal not provided with the basic necessities of life, i.e. food, water, shelter, vaccination against disease, and treatment for parasites.
H. "Abused dog" and "cruelty to dogs" means any of the following:
i. Overworking, beating, tormenting, injuring, or killing any dog;
ii. Carrying a dog in a cruel manner;
iii. Abandonment of any dog or abandoning any dog along a highway, railroad, or any other place or locale where said dog may suffer injury, hunger, or exposure to the elements, or become a public charge;
iv. Promoting, sponsoring, conducting, participating in, or attending any fight between dogs;
v. Intentionally striking a dog with a motor vehicle;
vi. Striking a dog with a motor vehicle and failing to stop or render assistance;
vii. Failure to provide a dog with proper food, water, shelter and protection from the elements, proper veterinary care, parasitic control, and humane care and treatment.

Section 2. Application of Ordinance.

This ordinance applies to any person who owns, harbors, has custody of, or exercises dominion or control over any dog, within Cascade County.

Section 3. Immunization Against Disease.

Every person keeping, harboring, maintaining, or having custody of any dog over six months of age, shall provide immunization for such animal, at the owner’s expense, against the following diseases:

A. Rabies;
B. Distemper; and
C. Parvovirus.

Distemper and parvovirus immunization may be administered by the owner. Rabies immunization shall be administered only by a licensed veterinarian. Rabies immunization for every dog must be repeated at the expiration of the effective date used by the licensed veterinarian providing the immunization. Each owner of said dog must have available, upon request of any enforcement agency or animal control officer, a certificate from a licensed veterinarian stating that such dog has received rabies immunization and showing that the vaccine is current. Violation of this provision shall be a misdemeanor.

Section 4. Parasite Control.

Every person keeping, harboring, or maintaining any dog shall provide effective parasite control, if needed, at the owner’s expense. If needed, such parasite control shall be repeated at the expiration of the effective date of any parasite control used by the veterinarian or other person providing such parasite control, or as needed or required for the type of parasite subject to control. Violation of this provision shall be a misdemeanor.

Section 5. Food, Water, and Shelter.

Every person keeping, harboring, maintaining, or having custody of any dog shall provide such dog with adequate food, water, shelter, and waste control as requested for the species, breed, and type of dog involved. Adequate food means food in a volume sufficient to allow said dog to maintain normal body weight range for a dog of the type and breed involved.

"Adequate water" means water sufficient to provide for the seasonal needs of said dog.

"Waste control" means provision to the dog of sufficient space and drainage facilities, which allow for the control and disposal of all liquid and solid wastes generated by said dog.

Violation of this provision shall be a misdemeanor.

Section 6. Identification Requirement.

Every owner, or person responsible for custody of or exercising dominion and control, is required to provide each dog with a means of identification, whether by collar or tag, which shall set forth the name of the owner, person responsible for custody of or exercising dominion and control over the dog, and either the mailing address of said person or said person’s telephone number. Violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor.

Section 7. Dogs at Large.

No dog covered by this ordinance shall be allowed to run at large in the county. No owner shall allow any dog to be at large off the owner’s property unless accompanied by the owner or subject to the owner’s management and control. Violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor.

Section 8. Impoundment of Dogs at Large.

Any dog found to be running at large in the county may be impounded and seized by any sheriff, deputy sheriff, game warden, animal control officer, City of Great Falls animal control officer, or any other law enforcement officer, or authorized officer of an approved humane organization registered with the Sheriff’s Office of Cascade County.

Said agencies and approved humane societies are hereby empowered and authorized to enter upon private property, including the premises of the dog’s owner, in order to apprehend any dog that is running at large. This section does not authorize any person to enter any private residence.

Impoundment shall be at a facility identified by the county as an impoundment facility.

Section 9. Disposal of Impounded Dogs.

Dogs impounded under the provisions of this section may be killed or otherwise disposed of after a period of seventy-two (72) hours.

Impounded dogs not disposed of by sale, adoption, or redemption shall be killed by humane method. Proceeds of sale shall apply to costs of enforcement of this Ordinance, including impoundment and disposition.

Section 10. Adoption of Impounded Dogs.

If an owner of a dog does not redeem the dog within seventy-two (72) hours, the owner forfeits all right, title, and interest therein, and the same may be offered for adoption to the public. A person may adopt a dog once the application has been approved and upon payment of the following;

A. Any license fee required by the City of Great Falls, if the person so adopting is a resident of Great Falls;
B. A rabies vaccination fee;
C. An adoption fee; and
D. For unaltered dogs, a neutering or spaying incentive fee, which must be utilized within six months of adoption and any necessary veterinary fees incurred.

A certificate of adoption conferring title free of all claims and interests of the previous owner will be given to the adopting person. No animal suffering from an infectious disease will be released unless a licensed veterinarian certifies the dog is disease free.

Section 11. Costs of Impoundment, Disposal, Treatment, and Care- Civil Action to Collect.

The costs of impoundment, disposal, treatment, and care incurred incident to the enforcement of any section of this ordinance is a liability of the owner or person having custody or exercising dominion and control over said dog. Such costs and expenses may be recovered by an action initiated by the County Attorney, an agency incurring such costs and expenses or by private action by any person who incurs such costs or expenses or to whom such costs or expenses are due or owed. In addition to such costs and expenses, the owner or person having custody or exercising dominion and control over such dog shall be liable for all costs and expenses of collection of such costs and expenses including reasonable attorney fees.

Section 12. Impounded Dogs- Disease.

Any impounded dog suspected of having rabies or known to have bitten any human shall not be killed or otherwise disposed of until said dog is released by a licensed veterinarian or said dog's head is sent to the State Department of Livestock's Diagnostic Laboratory for testing for rabies.

Section 13. Redemption of Impounded Dogs.

Dogs impounded under this ordinance may be redeemed by the owner or other person responsible for the control thereof.

A. Redemption of an impounded dog shall be made by exhibiting satisfactory proof of ownership and paying the required fees and charges, which shall include, but not be limited to impoundment fee, daily care fee, if required, license fees, if any, and necessary medical costs, if required, as follows:

1. A daily fee for each day, or part thereof, that the dog has been impounded;
2. A fee for a rabies vaccination if the dog is not vaccinated;
3. An impoundment fee; and
4. Any necessary veterinary fees incurred.
B. Any dog not wearing an identification tag, or any dog for which the owner or custodian cannot be identified, and which has not been redeemed by its owner or custodian within three days after impoundment, may be adopted upon payment of applicable adoption fees and license fees or disposed of in a humane manner.

Section 14. Nuisance Dogs.

It is a public nuisance for any dog to chase vehicles on a county highway or road, to run at large, or to be owned, kept, or maintained without a current immunization against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus.

Every person having under their control any female dog in heat shall confine such dog. Failure to confine such female dog constitutes a public nuisance.

Maintenance, harboring, or keeping of any dog which by loud and continuous barking, howling, or yelping interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by the community, neighbor, or by a number of persons is also maintaining a public nuisance.

Any dog that destroys property, injures or destroys other pets or other animals not trespassing on the property of or attempting to injure or injuring the person, family, or property of the owner, is classified as a nuisance.

Any person who allows any dog owned, subject to their maintenance or custody, to be kept in a manner that constitutes a public nuisance, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Section 15. Impoundment of Dogs Upon Nuisance Complaint.

Any dog constituting a nuisance may be taken and impounded by authorized personnel. It shall be the duty of all authorized personnel and all law enforcement officers to issue tickets and file complaints for such violations. Any person aggrieved by a nuisance may file a complaint charging the owner with violation of this section.

Section 16. Nuisance Penalties.

Violation of the nuisance section shall be a misdemeanor.

Section 17. Seizure of a Nuisance Dog.

Upon a third conviction under this section of Cascade County Ordinances, or upon a single instance where the facts indicate that such action is necessary for the safety of the citizens of this county or their property, nuisance dogs shall be seized by the Cascade County Sheriff, and disposed of in accordance with the impoundment provisions of this Ordinance.

Section 18. Vicious Dogs.

Whenever an affidavit is made that any dog has bitten a person and that the person bitten was not attempting to injure the person, family, or property owner, the owner of said dog shall be issued a citation therefor, and shall be required to surrender said animal to a licensed veterinarian for quarantine within twenty-four (24) hours after service of citation. Such citation shall be served upon the owner by any person authorized under this Ordinance, or any law enforcement officer, and if the owner cannot be found at their place of residence or located in a reasonable manner, the owner may be served by leaving the citation with a person of suitable age and discretion or by placing it in a prominent place at the front door of such residence of the owner. It is unlawful for any person to refuse or neglect to surrender any such vicious dog within twenty-four (24) hours after service of a citation as provided for in this section.

Upon failure to surrender the dog within twenty-four (24) hours, authorized personnel shall forthwith seize and impound such dog at a licensed veterinary office at the owner’s expense. In the event the owner is unknown, authorized personnel shall seize and impound such animal without notice.

Section 19. Vicious Dog Behavior Defined.

Any dog, except a dog assisting a peace officer engaged in law enforcement duties, which demonstrates any or all of the following behavior is presumed vicious:

i. An attack, without provocation, which requires a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury and/or property damage in a place where such person is conducting themselves peaceably and lawfully;
ii. An attack, without provocation, that results in an injury to a person in a place where such person is conducting themselves peaceably and lawfully;
iii. Any behavior, without provocation, that constitutes a physical threat of bodily harm to a person in a place where such person is conducting themselves peaceably and lawfully;
iv. Lawful presence. For the purpose of this Section, a person is peaceably and lawfully upon the private property of an owner when in the performance of any duty imposed upon them by the laws of the State of Montana, or any city or county, by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when they are on such property upon invitation, express, or implied.

Section 20. Dog Bites.

All incidents involving dog bites where such bites result in the breaking of the victim's skin shall be reported to the Cascade County Sheriff's Office or such other office or agency designated by the Cascade County Sheriff within twenty-four (24) hours of such occurrence. The owner of any such dog shall produce proof of current rabies immunization. Absent such proof of immunization, the dog shall be placed under quarantine at a licensed veterinary clinic at the owner's expense, or the owner's home, for the period of time of at least ten (10) days from the date of bite, as prescribed in Section 32-3-1204 of Montana Administrative Rules.

Section 21. Hearing.

Any dog which has bitten persons under the circumstances set forth in the above Section on three (3) separate occasions or in a single instance where the facts indicate that such action is necessary for the safety of the citizens of this community, said dog shall be put to death by an animal control officer after a hearing. Any person may protect their pets, their property, their person, or the person of any other human being from any imminent danger or attack by use of force, even to the extent of slaying said dog if reasonably necessary.

Section 22. Conditional Release of Dogs.

Upon the determination that a dog is vicious, the following conditions will be imposed if the Court does not order the dog put to death:

i. To keep the dog confined on their premises in an enclosure approved by the licensing agent;
ii. To keep the dog securely muzzled, leashed and under the control of a person eighteen (18) years of age or older, and who is physically capable of restraining the dog when the dog is off their property;
iii. Any violation of this agreement will result in the dog being impounded or destroyed;
iv. To inform, along with animal control, any city, county, postmaster, utility company meter readers, and anyone else that comes on the property with implied consent or peaceably and lawfully, of the dog’s viciousness if the dog is moved into an area;
v. The owner of a vicious and/or dangerous dog shall post the entrances to the property where the dog is kept with a legible warning sign;
vi. Owners of dogs conditionally released shall hold Cascade County, its employees, agents, and subdivisions harmless from claim or liability including attorney fees, for any claim of any person resulting from the conditional release of a dog hereunder. The owner must provide proof of liability insurance in an amount specified by the County Humane Officer prior to release.
viii. Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor that may result in the prosecution of the person by the County Attorney.

Section 23. Cruelty to Dogs.

A person commits the offense of cruelty to dogs if, without justification, they knowingly or negligently subject a dog to mistreatment or neglect by any of the following:

A. Overworking, beating, tormenting, injuring, or killing any dog;
B. Carrying any dog in a cruel manner;
C. Failing to provide a dog in their custody or care with proper food, water, shelter, and protection from the elements, veterinary care for treatment of injury, provisions of immunizations, and treatment of parasites, and provision of humane care and treatment;
D. Abandonment of any dog;
E. Promoting, sponsoring, conducting, participating, or attending any fight between dogs;
F. Intentionally striking any dog with a motor vehicle;
G. Allowing any dog to breed indiscriminately or to allow such dog to breed without provision for treatment, care, feeding, and placement of any young or progeny;
H. Failure to provide for adequate disposal of solid and liquid waste matter.

A person convicted of cruelty shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, except for Subsection E, may be prosecuted under Section 45-8-210, Montana Code Annotated.

Section 24. Severability.

If any section, subsection or provision of this Ordinance is declared invalid by any court or tribunal, the remaining sections, subsections, and provisions of this ordinance shall not be affected thereby.

Section 25. Penalty.

Any violation of the provisions of this ordinance shall constitute a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the Cascade County Jail not exceeding six (6) months or by a fine not to exceed $500.00 or both.

How do I...