Pet owners beware! If pets aren’t leashed, you can be fined

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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

Cats and dogs need exercise as much as their human owners. But before you think about opening your front or back door and letting them roam free, know this: Both the City of Elkader and Clayton County have ordinances that prohibit allowing pets to run “at large.” In other words, if your pet sticks his or her paws outside your yard, it better be on a leash.  If it’s not, you could be fined. 

The city actually has three separate ordinances dealing with pets. One states that it’s unlawful for “an animal to run at large” within city limits. Another addresses damages, noting that it is “unlawful for the owner of an animal to allow or permit such animal to pass upon the premises of another thereby causing damage to, or interference with, the premises.” 

A final ordinance stresses the responsibility of pet owners to “control of an animal to clean up and remove the feces deposited by such animal at all times when said animal is not on the owner’s premises.”

Elkader City Administrator Jennifer added that fines related to these ordinances are not specified in city code. However, violating them is a municipal infraction, which can carry a penalty of up to $750.

“We usually start with a warning letter and then a $50 fine, and then a $100 fine,” Cowsert added.

Restraints are also required in Clayton County parks. Jenna Pollock, Executive Director of the Clayton County Conservation Board, reminds park visitors that animals must be on leashes not to exceed six feet in length. There is a fine for allowing unleashed pets to roam in county parks

Some Elkader residents have noted a recent increase in pets running “at large,” which has left them both frustrated and angry. Joel Bankes, who lives near the Central preschool/kindergarten building has been chasing cats and dogs out of his yard for weeks.

“It’s your responsibility to control and pick up after your pets,” he reminds pet owners. “It’s our responsibility to protect the birds feeding in our backyard.”

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