North Judson Town Council Holds First Reading Over Animal Ordinance

An ordinance which has resulted in quite a bit of public attention as well as council consideration received its first reading during last night’s North Judson Town Council meeting. The ordinance regulating the housing and maintenance of animals in the Town of North Judson received unanimous council approval on first reading.

The ordinance is divided into three sections. Section one provides definitions of animals such as cats, dogs, chickens, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits and swine as well as other poultry and domestic animals. It also provides the definitions of phrases such as at large, dangerous animal, feral, free-roaming, harboring, impound and housing.

Section two of the ordinance deals with the regulation of animals. This includes general care as well as registration. The ordinance specifies that individuals must annually register their animals at the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office on or prior to February 15th of the current year.

There are specific subsections pertaining to the requirements associated with chickens, horses and ponies, cats and dogs, rabbits and swine. It specifies that any animals not listed in Section 2 of the ordinance cannot be housed within corporate Town limits. It also says that housing and setbacks are required to conform to the acceptable standards listed in the specific subsection for that animal and must be set a minimum of fifty feet from any property line.

The third section deals with penalties and prohibitions. Section three is divided into subsections dealing with confinement, running-at-large, non-immunized animals, capture and removal and bodily injury caused by an animal.

It goes on to list the penalties which include a first violation fee of $50 and the violator would be given 10 days to correct the violation and a second violation fee of $100 with 5 days allotted for the violation to be corrected. Any violation can result in the potential impoundment of the animal(s) in question. The Town’s code enforcement officer would be in charge of determining whether a violation has occurred but the NJ Police Department and Starke County Humane Society would deal with capture and impoundment respectively.

The final subsection of the ordinance declares that if any part of the ordinance is for any reason determined to be illegal, invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed an independent provision and will not affect the validity of the remainder of the ordinance.

This is just a general synopsis of the proposed ordinance which will receive a second reading in the near future. In order to receive a full copy of the ordinance, contact the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office at 310 Lane Street by calling 574-896-3340.