MODESTO — Modesto police are unveiling an ordinance that would make it a misdemeanor for residents who dump cats and dogs and other stray pets they have trapped.
The proposal will go before the City Council's Safety & Communities Committee on Monday for its consideration. The full council must adopt the ordinance for it to take effect.
The ordinance was crafted after the district attorney's office declined to prosecute two Modesto residents accused of trapping and then dumping neighborhood cats at remote locations. Animal advocates had urged authorities to prosecute the two men.
Police Capt. Michael Harris said state law makes it a misdemeanor to abandon an animal, but he said local prosecutors declined to file charges under that law because they concluded it applied to owners who abandoned their pets.
The proposed ordinance makes it illegal for people who contain a stray animal found at large or on their property to abandon the animal. The ordinance requires them within eight hours to:
Return the animal to the owner if the owner is known.
Report to animal control officers that they have contained an animal.
Or take the animal to the Stanislaus Animal Serv-ices Agency shelter.
A city report states that trapping neighborhood pets and then releasing them at remote locations can endanger the pets, which may not be able to survive in the wild, and can cause an increase in the pet population if they have not been spayed or neutered.
Those convicted of the misdemeanor face a penalty of as much as $1,000 and up to one year in jail. Harris said he does not expect anyone to receive jail time. He expects violators would be cited and fined.
The proposed ordinance is not intended to apply to any person or organization registered with the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency as a caretaker for feral cats.
The committee will meet at 5 p.m. Monday in Room 2005 at Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2316.
MODESTO CITY COUNCIL WATCH
The Modesto City Council will meet Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the basement chamber of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St. The council is expected to:
Approve an agreement with Disability Access Consultant Inc. for $55,000 to assist in updating the city's 1992 self-evaluation and transition plan to be in compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act 2010 standards. The act requires state and local governments to prepare a self-evaluation and transition plan.
Approve implementing a 30-day spacing policy for similar events for example, two wedding fairs at Modesto Centre Plaza, the city's downtown convention center. Staff is asking for the change after questions were raised about the current policy, which doesn't establish a fixed number of days between similar events, is arbitrary and needs to be more specific, a city report says.
Consider changing the composition of the nine-member city Entertainment Commission, which issues and renews permits for downtown nightclubs and other businesses. The proposal would change the commission's composition to one business permit holder, one nonprofit-special event permit holder, two representatives from the board of directors of the Downtown Improvement District or other entity that promotes Modesto, two at-large members, one Cultural Commission member and two alternates. Currently, there are no guidelines on the composition of the Entertainment Commission.
Consider an application to rezone a 3.7-acre parcel at 3724 Dale Road from low-density residential to professional office. That section of Dale is evolving from residences to professional offices, according to a city report. No development is proposed with the rezoning request. However, the property could be marketed for professional offices if the rezoning is approved.