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City considering tightening animal code

DIXON – The City Council is considering updating its animal code after receiving several complaints about a resident housing a cow, donkey and pony together in a small yard.

The city’s ordinance doesn’t specifically prohibit many animals but generally doesn’t allow for those that are especially noisy, like crowing roosters, or dangerous.

Residents can’t have swine within city limits with exception to having up to three Vietnamese potbellied pigs if they are enclosed and follow other rules in the code.

Mayor Li Arellano Jr. estimated that about 90 percent of the city’s animal complaints are about the resident, but said officials might be able to enforce violations against the existing code, such as the requirement that animals be kept 20 feet from any dwelling.

They should take care not to be too restrictive if they change the code, so it doesn’t negatively affect residents who house animals, such as goats, correctly without concerns or complaints.

Councilman Dennis Considine said they need to be more proactive at updating their codes instead of waiting for an incident to prompt change.

The animal code, last updated in 1950, likely will go to the council for review at its next meeting Oct. 15.

Dogs are covered under their own ordinance.

Animal code

According to the city's animal code:

No owner or keeper of any horse, mule, swine, sheep, goat or other like animal, or of any chicken, goose, duck, turkey or guinea or other fowl, shall allow the same to run at large within the limits of the city.

The herding of any animal or fowl mentioned or the tethering of the same to graze upon any street or alley of the city, shall be deemed and taken as permitting the same to run at large. 

No owner or keeper of any animal or fowl mentioned in section 9-3-1 of this chapter shall keep, confine or maintain the same at any time within the limits of the city in any pen, shed, barn, coop or other enclosure which is closer than twenty feet (20') to any dwelling. 

No swine shall be kept within the city. Provided, however, and subject to restrictions contained in this chapter and this code, any person may keep not more than three (3) Vietnamese potbellied pigs within an enclosed area located on property owned or leased by the owner of said Vietnamese potbellied pig(s).

No person shall permit a dangerous animal to run at large or shall lead any such animal with a chain, rope or other appliance, whether such animal be muzzled or unmuzzled in any street or public place within the city.

No person shall knowingly bring, keep or retain any horse, colt, mule or other animal having a disease that is contagious among any such animals.

No person shall keep or harbor any animal which by barking, howling, bawling or by other noises shall disturb the peace and quiet of any person.

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