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County commissioners meeting goes to the dogs

Animal fees, fines, licenses and records on board agenda


by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Barbara Aulbach, owner of Caledon Kennels, with her Shelties. Aulbach spoke in opposition to fee increases and kennel licensing rule changes considered by the Columbia County Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday, Oct. 30.It was a dog day for the Columbia County Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

Several animal-related items were on the board’s regular meeting agenda, including ordinances introduced to amend the county’s kennel laws and require veterinarians to certify rabies vaccinations of dogs with the county, as well as new fees for dog licensing and violations.

The board is looking at changing rules governing animal kennels in the county to bring them in line with new state laws. One such change would require animal rescue groups to be licensed to operate kennels for 10 or more adult dogs; along with veterinary facilities, they are currently exempt.

A Scappoose kennel operator testified in opposition to the rule changes at the meeting.

Barbara Aulbach, who owns Caledon Kennels in the Chapman area west of Scappoose, said she believes it is unfair to increase fees while maintaining an exemption for veterinary practices.

“I feel that they’re given an advantage because they’re a veterinarian,” Aulbach said, adding, “If we’re required to be inspected and have a kennel license, it should be the same for any facility.”

State law provides the veterinary exemption, Columbia County Animal Control Officer Roger Kadell noted.

Kadell said, “Veterinarians are still pretty much exempt, and as these laws get passed, obviously they have a very strong lobby, so when these rules come through …”

County Commissioner Tony Hyde interrupted Kadell, saying, “No, let’s not theorize about why.”

In spite of Aulbach’s objections, the commissioners approved fee increases for dog licenses and kennels. The fee to license a spayed or neutered dog is increasing from $12 to $15, while the annual kennel license application fee goes from $175 to $250, with a discounted $100 rate for grooming parlors, and the re-inspection fee for kennels doubles from $100 to $200.

The kennel ordinance itself, which commissioners could vote on Nov. 13, would also prohibit animal odors that affect neighboring properties and animal noises that last more than 30 minutes during the day or 15 minutes between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. and can be heard from another property.

Commissioners also approved a set of fines for dog violations.

Several offenses outlined in Oregon state law, including dogs running at large, trespassing, chasing people or vehicles, or damaging or destroying property, will be subject to a $75 fine. The same fine can be imposed for an unlicensed dog.

An offense for a “potentially dangerous” dog may incur a $250 fine.

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