February 28, 2024

Jasper County adds violation enforcement to animal control code

Violators could be fined up to $750 on their first offense, $1,000 for subsequent offenses

Procedures are now in place for anyone who violates Jasper County’s animal control ordinance. The board of supervisors on Feb. 6 held a public hearing to amend its ordinance, and after hearing no opposition waived the second and third readings and officially adopted the ordinance in a 3-0 vote.

Kevin Luetters, director of community development for Jasper County, said some of the language needed to be cleaned up, but the major change came under the “violations” section. Luetters said it was added in order for the county to enforce any potential violators of the ordinance.

“It’s just to get the enforcement in there, so if we have a violation with this ordinance we have a procedure — which we did not have before,” Luetters said to the supervisors during the public hearing. “It’s the same procedure you use for environmental health violations and for nuisance violations.”

According to the amended ordinance, violations will be considered a county infraction, which is a civil offense punishable by a penalty of no more than $750 for the initial violation. Repeat offenders will receive civil penalties of no more than $1,000 for each offense, plus all costs and remedies under Iowa Code.

All inspections and enforcement actions will be conducted under the direction and supervision of the community development director, who may seek the assistance of other public officers or employees to perform such duties as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of the ordinance.

There are variances to these violations which may be granted by the proper authority, provided sufficient and proposed alternatives are brought forth. Variances are to be requested in writing and addressed to the county’s community development director.

The county has also included an appeals process. Citizens have the right to appeal a violation directly to the board of supervisors, who have to have a majority vote to modify, withdraw or order compliance with the individual who allegedly violated the ordinance.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.