Linda Cisneros, director of the Valencia County Animal Control, brought a proposed new animal control ordinance to the county commission Tuesday.
The 14-page document raises licensing fees for dogs and cats that have not been neutered or spayed. It also raises other fees in order to bring funds to the animal shelter, which has been criticized for the conditions there.
It also defines cruelty to animals and abandonment of animals.
Commissioners praised Cisneros for her work on the document and asked that it go to a committee that is looking at how to improve conditions at the animal shelter, before the public sees it and the county considers it.
In addition to cruelty to animals and abandonment, the ordinance addresses impounding procedures, restraint of animals, licensing, dangerous dogs, dogs that kill or injure livestock and poultry, kennels, catterys and guard dog permits.
It forbids fighting of animals for exhibition.
Cisneros said later that she revised the county’s present ordinance after a look at ordinances in other places.
The ordinance does two major things, she said. First, it makes animal owners more responsible, increasing fees for non-sterilized animals.
“Hundreds of puppies are killed each month. Some people allow their dogs to have more and more puppies. They get a break in fees if they (the dogs) are sterilized,” she said.
But the ordinance allows legitimate breeders who produce show dogs to not be penalized, she said. They may breed one or two litters each year, but they must be licensed as breeders.
The ordinance also addresses “dangerous dogs” for the first time, she said.
In other business, the commissioners discussed whether to endorse a House Joint resolution introduced in Congress that would “reinstate prayer in public schools.” The request for endorsement was brought by Commissioner Alicia Aguilar.
Commissioners Aguilar, Helen Baca, Frank Pando and Al Padilla voted in favor of the resolution, saying it would put ethics back in the classroom.
Commissioner Gary Daves voted against the commission endorsing it, saying that America stands for freedom of religion. In a very Christian country, non-Christians may object to saying prayers in school because “they may feel pressured into adhering to one religion.”
“This has nothing to do with passing one religion onto another,” Aguilar said. “It has to do with ethics, morality, doing what’s right or wrong. It has to do with personal accountability, with knowing the difference between right and wrong.”
In other matters, residents presented a petition to the commission asking that speed humps be removed from Horner Street in Rio Communities. Resident Floyd Kaler said the humps are “a road hazard and health hazard, cause bodily injury and lower property values.”
In addition, teens use the humps as skate board ramps, he said.
Several other residents said that the speed humps were maddening and caused accidents.
Scott Kaler said he gets mad about the speed humps whenever he rides over them. Residents drive out of their way to avoid them, he said.
“It’s our neighborhood. We have to live here. It’s dangerous,” Scott Kaler said. “They have created a hazard.
Commissioner Pando said a lot of residents ask for speed humps and “this was the first time I’ve been asked to remove them. People on several roads are wanting speed humps. It boggles my mind.”
Neighborhood residents asked the speed humps be put in originally, he said. Kaler said he had never seen the petition asking for the speed humps.
Only four people live on the street, Kaler said, and “several hundred of us are sick of it.”
There are two speed humps on the street, he said.
Aguilar acknowledged that there could be problems on the street and suggested the county engineer and road department look at the situation and come back with a recommendation. The item was tabled.
The commission approved paying $9,146 to Terracon to perform environmental services and present a work plan to begin to assess buried waste at the Conejo Transfer station. The State Environment Department has placed the county under a compliance order.
Commissioners approved a request to go out to bid for the county attorney and the gasoline supply for the county.