Revisions to NJ Animal Ordinance Suggested Before First Reading Takes Place

The North Judson Town Council once again reviewed the proposed animal ordinance at their meeting Monday night. The current ordinance is divided into three sections: definitions, regulations and penalties and prohibitions.

Town Attorney Justin Schramm recommended that in order to speed up the process they could have held a first reading and any proposed changes could still be made and presented during the second reading. Some council members were interested in holding the first reading at that time but desired changes presented by other council members left it as just a consideration.

Council President Wendy Hoppe said one of her concerns was that the town does not have an official animal ordinance enforcer, like towns with similar ordinances. Her concern was that the ordinance designates Joe Leszek, the town’s code enforcement officer, as the authority in those matters and he is a part-time employee.

Schramm clarified, stating that Leszek would only be in charge of providing notice that a violation has occurred. Any potential actions would fall under the jurisdiction of the humane society or the police department.

In order to cut down on the amount of pages in the ordinance, which is currently 9 pages, Council member Jane-Ellen Felchuck proposed combining the sections about horses, ponies and swine together into one section since most of the word usage about housing and immunization was the same.

Council member James Young pointed out that a good reason to keep those separate is to see the difference between the fees and to cut down on any potential confusion. He also said they should be focused on content right now rather than wording.

She also expressed concern with the fees listed, but other council members disagreed, stating they felt those were fine. Schramm came up with the fees by asking all the council members for their opinions then taking the average and listing those numbers.

Felchuck was adamant about having the changes made to avoid any potential legal problems and ensure conciseness before a first reading takes place. Council member John Rowe agreed to give Felchuck two weeks to address her concerns and stated that he is ready to move things along.

The first reading of the animal ordinance is anticipated to take place during the next North Judson Town Council meeting on October 16th.