December 11, 2023

Public hearing set for proposed animal ordinance amendment

At the Osceola city council meeting on Nov. 15, council set a public hearing for Dec. 6 meeting for the proposed amendment to Chapter 55 of Osceola city code titled Animal Protection and Control. The amendments will address the number of animals, at large: impoundment, and feeding community cats.

Number of Animals

Changes to 55.16 ‘Number of Animals’ reads in part:

“No person shall harbor or maintain more than three domesticated-adult dogs and/or three domesticated-adult cats without first obtaining a permit from the City of Osceola. The permit applicant shall demonstrate that conditions for the animals’ wellbeing are not in violation of Chapter 55.02 of the City of Osceola Code of Ordinance…The fee for such permit shall be $25 and shall be renewed annually. Any number of cats which are exclusively confined within a residential dwelling are exempt from permitting…”

At Large: Impoundment

Changes to 55.12 ‘At Large: Impoundment’ reads:

“Animals found at large in violation of this chapter shall be seized and impounded, or at the discretion of the peace officer, the owner may be served a summons to appear before a proper court to answer charges made thereunder.

1. “Trap-Neuter-Return”- The City may, upon resolution, adopt a ‘Trap-Neuter-Return’ program, also knowns as ‘TNR’ program, for the humane management of free roaming cats. For the purposes of this ordinance, free roaming cats include any feral, stray or community cat which spends most of its time outdoors and where there is no claim of ownership.”

The TNR program is not being discussed at this time.

Feeding Community Cats

A new section to be added to Chapter 55 is 55.22 ‘Feeding Community Cats’:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally place or leave food at a property primarily for the purpose of feeding feral, stray, or community cats. Any such conditions shall be considered a nuisance and shall be abated in the same manner as found in Chapter 50 of the City of Osceola Code of Ordinances. This ordinance shall not apply to the feeding of domesticated animals where access by community cats is incidental and unauthorized.”

A full copy of the proposed amendment is available at City Hall, or in the legal section of this paper. Comments may be made at the public hearing, or in writing prior to the meeting.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.