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Greene County Begins Enforcing Animal Control Ordinance


Today, Greene County begins enforcing an animal control ordinance in a densely populated area outside Springfield. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Today, Greene County begins enforcing an animal control ordinance in a densely populated area outside Springfield.

But for the next two weeks, officers will be warning violators rather than giving them a citation.

The ordinance requires dogs to be kept on leashes when away from their owner's properties, with some limited exceptions.

The ordinance also establishes a process for registering vicious and nuisance

dogs. Owners of these dogs must register their animals and pay a permit fee.

Greene County Commissioner Harold Bengsch is the former director of the Springfield Greene County Health Department.

He says animal control is a public health issue.

The county approved some minor changes to the ordinance today.

No one testified in favor or against the changes.

The commissioners say they've had an overwhelmingly positive response to the animal control requirements.

Bengsch says he did receive one call from a citizen who said the ordinance impinges unnecessarily on individual freedom.

While Bengsch says he's very sensitive to those concerns, he also believes the need for regulation overrides personal freedom in this case.

The county is spending 94 thousand dollars this year on animal control. The commission calls this a first step toward a comprehensive animal control policy, which at this time, is too costly for the county.

Dave Coonrod is presiding commissioner.

The county commission originally approved the animal control ordinance on October 2nd but delayed implementation until today so dog owners would have time to build fences or take other steps necessary to comply with the new requirements.