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Ronan city council passes animal control ordinance

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RONAN — At their last meeting on Oct. 26, the Ronan City Council addressed the local animal problem by passing an ordinance that will go into effect 30 days from approval. 

Animal Control ordinance number 2022-05 is meant to address local problems with loose, vicious dogs. While an emergency ordinance regarding animal control had been passed by the council in a prior meeting following a dog attack on a resident, this ordinance expanded upon some of the parameters specified and has no expiration date. 

A key feature of the ordinance was the addition of fines for unlawful acts regarding animals. These acts include owning or harboring a dog or other animal that attacks, bites, or injures a human being, keeping a dog over six months of age without annually registering and licensing the dog with the city clerk and permitting an animal to run at large upon the streets and public ways of the city, or on private property in which the owner of the dog does not have some property interest. Fines for violating these and other listed unlawful acts can result in up to $250 in fines and a personal appearance before the Ronan City Judge upon the third offense. 

In a statement regarding the motion, mayor Chris Adler read, “This will ensure the safety of Ronan’s citizens and rights of animal owners as well as clear definition to law enforcement and court officials. We’re also working with Lake County, CSKT, and Mission Valley Animal Shelter, as well as other local governments towards an agreement to be shared valley-wide in an effort to combat this problem.”

The ordinance passed unanimously and Adler clarified that this ordinance could be subject to change should they begin work with other local municipalities to come up with a valley-wide solution to the loose, vicious dog problem. “We’re hoping that everybody in the other municipalities will come into one agreement … that way for the guys with the badge, there’s no guessing,” Adler stated.

“It’s just our attempt to get some of those (parameters) in place,” commissioner Calvin Hardy agreed.

Citizens can contact their local officials with any input or concerns they may have regarding the ordinance. A copy of the ordinance can also be obtained at City Hall. 

In other news:

—  Another ordinance was passed unanimously during the meeting prohibiting large trucks from operating on Third Avenue Northwest between Round Butte Road and Highway 93. To diminish wear on the street, vehicles in excess of 10 tons gross weight are prohibited from operating along that stretch of road, except for local deliveries within the specified area. Signage will be put in place at both ends of the road clarifying this to drivers and violations will constitute a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $100. 

—  The implementation of a business license and possible zoning requirements is being discussed. Currently, Ronan only has a solicitor and liquor license requirement. Examples of business licenses from other small towns throughout Montana were brought to the council in which prices ranged from $25 to $50 per year for all business types. 

“I’m all for it, even as a business owner I think it’s good to kind of see what’s coming into our town,” commented Commissioner Lindsay Myers. 

The Public Improvement and Planning committee, consisting of commissioners Hardy, Ryan Corum, and Myers will meet to establish more specifics and present on the proposal in a future meeting. 

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