CHAPTER 55 – Animal Protection and Control




55.01 Definitions 55.12 Confinement
55.02 Animal Neglect 55.13 Dog Complaint Filed
55.03 Livestock Neglect 55.14 Impounding Animals
55.04 Abandonment of Cats and Dogs 55.15 Owner Notified
55.05 Livestock 55.16 Animals Reclaimed
55.06 At Large Prohibited 55.17 Animals Confined by City
55.07 Dog Tie-Up 55.18 Kennels
55.08 Damage or Interference 55.19 Ownership Restrictions
55.09 Annoyance or Disturbance 55.20 Pet Awards Prohibited
55.10 Rabies Vaccination 55.21 Unhealthful or Unsanitary Conditions
55.11 Owner’s Duty 55.22 Urban Chickens

55.01    DEFINITIONS. The following terms are defined for use in this chapter.

1. “Advertise” means to present a commercial message in any medium including but not limited to print, radio, television, sign, display, label, tag or articulation.

2. “Animal” means a nonhuman vertebrate.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 717B.1)

3. “At large” means off the premises of the owner and not under the control of a competent person, restrained within a motor vehicle, or housed in a veterinary hospital or kennel.

4. “Business” means any enterprise relating to any of the following:
A. The sale or offer for sale of goods or services.
B. A recruitment for employment or membership in an organization.
C. A solicitation to make an investment.
D. An amusement or entertainment activity.

5. “Fair” means any of the following:
A. The annual fair and exposition held by the Iowa State Fair Board pursuant to Chapter 173 of the Code of Iowa or any fair event conducted by a fair under the provisions of Chapter 174 of the Code of Iowa.
B. An exhibition of agricultural or manufactured products.
C. An event for operation of amusement rides or devices or concession booths.

6. “Game” means a “game of chance” or “game of skill” as defined in Section 99B.1 of the Code of Iowa.

7. “Livestock” means an animal belonging to the bovine, caprine, equine, ovine or porcine species, ostriches, rheas and emus; farm deer as defined in Section 170.1 of the Code of Iowa; or poultry.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 717.1)

8. “Owner” means any person owning, keeping, sheltering or harboring an animal.

9. “Pet” means a living dog, cat, or an animal normally maintained in a small tank or cage in or near a residence, including but not limited to a rabbit, gerbil, hamster, mouse, parrot, canary, mynah, finch, tropical fish, goldfish, snake, turtle, gecko, or iguana.

55.02    ANIMAL NEGLECT. It is unlawful for a person who impounds or confines, in any place, an animal, excluding livestock, to fail to supply the animal during confinement with a sufficient quantity of food or water, or to fail to provide a confined dog or cat with adequate shelter, or to torture, deprive of necessary sustenance, mutilate, beat, or kill such animal by any means which causes unjustified pain, distress or suffering.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 717B.3)

55.03    LIVESTOCK NEGLECT. It is unlawful for a person who impounds or confines livestock in any place to fail to provide the livestock with care consistent with customary animal husbandry practices or to deprive the livestock of necessary sustenance or to injure or destroy livestock by any means which causes pain or suffering in a manner inconsistent with customary animal husbandry practices.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 717.2)

55.04    ABANDONMENT OF CATS AND DOGS. A person who has ownership or custody of a cat or dog shall not abandon the cat or dog, except the person may deliver the cat or dog to another person who will accept ownership and custody or the person may deliver the cat or dog to an animal shelter or pound.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 717B.8)

55.05    LIVESTOCK. It is unlawful for a person to keep livestock within the City except by written consent of the Council or except in compliance with the City’s zoning regulations.

55.06    AT LARGE PROHIBITED. It is unlawful for any owner to allow an animal to run at large within the corporate limits of the City.

55.07    DOG TIE-UP. All persons owning or boarding dogs shall confine the same from running at large; and it is the duty of every person owning or boarding dogs to do so by physical means or to cause said animals to be properly leashed at all times.

55.08    DAMAGE OR INTERFERENCE. 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.

55.09    ANNOYANCE OR DISTURBANCE. It is unlawful for the owner of a dog to allow or permit such dog to cause serious annoyance or disturbance to any person or persons by frequent and habitual howling, yelping, barking, or otherwise; or, by running after or chasing persons, bicycles, automobiles or other vehicles.

55.10    RABIES VACCINATION. Every owner of a dog shall obtain a rabies vaccination for such animal. It is unlawful for any person to own or have a dog in said person’s possession, six months of age or over, which has not been vaccinated against rabies. Dogs kept in kennels and not allowed to run at large are not subject to these vaccination requirements.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 351.33)

55.11    OWNER’S DUTY. It is the duty of the owner of any dog, cat or other animal which has bitten or attacked a person or any person having knowledge of such bite or attack to report this act to a local health or law enforcement official. It is the duty of physicians and veterinarians to report to the local board of health the existence of any animal known or suspected to be suffering from rabies.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 351.38)

55.12    CONFINEMENT. If a local board of health receives information that an animal has bitten a person or that a dog or animal is suspected of having rabies, the board shall order the owner to confine such animal in the manner it directs. If the owner fails to confine such animal in the manner directed, the animal shall be apprehended and impounded by such board, and after ten (10) days the board may humanely destroy the animal. If such animal is returned to its owner, the owner shall pay the cost of impoundment. This section does not apply if a police service dog or a horse used by a law enforcement agency and acting in the performance of its duties has bitten a person.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 351.39)

55.13    DOG COMPLAINT FILED. Any complainant hereunder shall state the nature of the violation, adequately describe the dog involved and identify the owner thereof, if known; such complaint shall be signed by the complainant.

55.14    IMPOUNDING ANIMALS. Any animal running at large or in violation of this chapter shall be seized and impounded by an authorized agent. (Ord. 127 – Feb. 16 Supp.)

55.15    OWNER NOTIFIED. It is the duty of the Police Department to determine the ownership of any animals confined under the terms of this chapter and to notify the owners within two (2) days of the impounding of said animals.

55.16   ANIMALS RECLAIMED. To retrieve an animal impounded pursuant to this chapter, the owner must pay twenty five dollars ($25.00) plus one dollar fifty cents ($1.50) per day for board. The owner must provide proof of rabies vaccination before the animal can be released. If the rabies vaccination is not current or the proof of vaccination cannot be provided, the City shall at the owner’s expense vaccinate the animal before releasing. If the animal has been picked up by the City previously, the charge to reclaim the animal after the second impounding will be fifty dollars ($50.00) and the third time the charges will be eighty dollars ($80.00) for the pickup and impounding in addition to the board charges.
(Ord. 127 – Feb. 16 Supp.)

55.17    ANIMALS CONFINED BY THE CITY. Any animal with unknown ownership confined by the City shall be held for a period of not less than three (3) days, all animals with known ownership shall be held for a period of not less than seven (7) days, and then the City may at that time destroy the animal by euthanasia. (Ord. 127 – Feb. 16 Supp.)

55.18    KENNELS. Any premises within the corporate limits upon which there are more than three (3) dogs maintained shall be classified as a kennel, and all buildings, runways and outside pens incident to the confinement of said animals shall be at least fifty (50) feet from all property lines and shall be maintained in a sanitary manner so as to prevent the accumulation of manure, urine, waste and refuse with reference to the raising of said animals. Feed and supplies incident to said premises shall be kept and stored in such a manner so as to deny access to the same by rodents and varmints and vermin, and said kennel area shall be held open for inspection by the designated officials of the City at all reasonable hours.

55.19    OWNERSHIP RESTRICTIONS. No person shall own, possess or keep more than three (3) mature animals, including dogs and/or cats, in any one household or premises within the City. A mature animal is one over the age of six (6) months. Persons who owned, possessed or kept more than three mature animals per household or premises on May 13, 2002, are permitted to continue to own, possess or keep those animals only, but are not permitted to replace an animal which dies, is sold, transferred or otherwise disposed of until the total number of animals per household or premises is decreased to three.

(Code of Iowa, Ch. 717E)
1. Prohibition. It is unlawful for any person to award a pet or advertise that a pet may be awarded as any of the following:
A. A prize for participating in a game.
B. A prize for participating in a fair.
C. An inducement or condition for visiting a place of business or attending an event sponsored by a business.
D. An inducement or condition for executing a contract that includes provisions unrelated to the ownership, care or disposition of the pet.

2. Exceptions. This section does not apply to any of the following:
A. A pet shop licensed pursuant to Section 162.5 of the Code of Iowa if the award of a pet is provided in connection with the sale of a pet on the premises of the pet shop.
B. Youth programs associated with 4-H Clubs; Future Farmers of America; the Izaak Walton League of America; or organizations associated with outdoor recreation, hunting or fishing, including but not limited to the Iowa Sportsmen’s Federation.

1. An owner shall keep all structures, pens, coops or yards wherein animals are confined clean, devoid of vermin and free of odors arising from feces.

2. No owner or walker of any animal shall permit the animal to discharge feces upon any public or private property, other than the property of the owner of the animal. The owner or walker shall be deemed to permit the animal’s discharge of feces if the owner does not immediately thereafter take steps to remove and clean up the feces from the property.

3. All feces removed as aforesaid shall be placed in an airtight container and shall be stored in a sanitary manner in an appropriate refuse container until it is removed pursuant to refuse collection procedures or otherwise disposed of in a sanitary manner.

4. An owner may, as an alternative to subsection 3 above, collect the feces and turn it under the surface of the owner’s soil in any manner that prevents odor or collection of vermin.

1. Definitions.
A. Chicken – shall mean a member of the subspecies Gallus Gallus Domesticus, a domesticated fowl.

B. Urban Chicken – shall mean a chicken kept on a permitted tract of land pursuant to this Chapter.

C. Tract of land – shall mean a property or a zoned lot that has one single family dwelling located on that property or zoned lot.

D. Single Family Dwelling – shall mean any building that contains only one dwelling unit used, intended, rented, leased, let or hired to be occupied for living purposes.

E. Permitted tract of land – shall mean the tract of land as identified by the owner upon which chickens are kept pursuant to this Chapter.

2. Number and Type of Chickens Allowed.
A. The maximum number of chickens allowed is fifteen (15) per tract of land regardless of how many dwelling units are on the tract.

B. Only female chickens (hens) are allowed. Roosters are not allowed.

3. Zoning Districts Allowed. Chickens are allowed only on tracts of land located in residential districts as identified on the current Official Zoning Map on file with the City of Melcher-Dallas.

4. Non-Commercial Use Only. Owners shall not engage in chicken breeding or fertilizer production for commercial purposes.

5. Enclosures.
A. Chickens must be kept in an enclosure or fenced area at all times. Chickens shall be secured within a henhouse or chicken tractor during non-daylight hours.

B. Enclosures must be kept in a clean, dry, odor-free, neat and sanitary condition at all times.

C. Henhouses, chicken tractors and chicken pens must provide adequate ventilation and adequate sun and shade and must be impermeable to rodents, wild birds and predators, including dogs and cats.

D. Henhouses and Chicken Tractors.
(1) Henhouses and chicken tractors shall be designed to provide safe and healthy living conditions for the chickens with a minimum of four (4) square feet per bird while minimizing adverse impacts to other residents in the neighborhood.

(2) A henhouse or chicken tractor shall be enclosed on all sides and shall have a roof and doors. Access doors must be able to be shut and locked at night. Opening windows and vents must be covered with predator and bird proof wire of less than one (1) inch openings.

(3) The materials used in making a henhouse or chicken tractor shall be uniform for each element of the structure such that the walls are made of the same material, the roof has the same shingles or other covering, and any windows or openings are constructed using the same materials. The use of scrap, waste board, sheet metal, or similar materials is prohibited. Henhouses and chicken tractors shall be well maintained.

(4) Henhouses, chicken tractors and chicken pens shall only be located in the rear yard required by Melcher-Dallas Municipal Code Chapter 165, unless the setback requirements cannot be met in which case they may be kept in other yard but within the required setbacks.

(5) Henhouses, chicken tractors and chicken pens must be located at least ten (10) feet from the property line and at least twenty-five (25) feet from any adjacent residential dwelling, church, school or place of business.

(6) Any enclosed chicken pen shall consist of sturdy wire fencing or wire netting with a maximum of 1″ spacing. The pen must be covered with wire, aviary netting, or solid roofing.

6. Odor and Noise Impacts.
A. Odors from chickens, chicken manure or other chicken related substances should not be perceptible beyond the boundaries of the permitted tract of land.

B. Noise from chickens shall not be loud enough beyond the boundaries of the permitted tract of land at the property boundaries to disturb persons of reasonable sensitivity.

7. Predators, Rodents, Insects and Parasites. The owner shall take necessary action to reduce the attraction of predators and rodents and the potential infestation of insects and parasites. Chickens found to be infested with insects and parasites that may result in unhealthy conditions to human habitation may be removed by the City, with all cost associated with the removal, assessed to the owner of the property from which the chickens were removed.

8. Feed and Water. Chickens shall be provided with access to feed and clean water at all times. The feed and water shall be unavailable to rodents, wild birds and predators.

9. Waste Storage and Removal. All stored manure shall be covered by a fully enclosed structure with a roof or lid over the entire structure. No more than three (3) cubic feet of manure shall be stored on the permitted tract of land. All other manure not used for composting or fertilizing shall be removed. The henhouse, chicken tractor, chicken pen and surrounding area must be kept free from trash and accumulated droppings. Uneaten feed shall be removed in a timely manner.

10. Chickens At Large.
A. The owner shall not allow their chickens to roam off the permitted tract of land. No dog or cat or other domesticated animal which kills a chicken off the permitted tract of land will, for that reason alone, not be considered a dangerous or aggressive animal or the City’s responsibility to enforce its animal control provisions.

11. Unlawful Acts.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to keep chickens in violation of any provision of this Chapter or any other provision of the Melcher-Dallas Municipal Code.
(1) It shall be unlawful for any owner, renter or leaseholder of property to allow chickens to be kept on the property in violation of the provisions of this article.

(2) No person shall keep chickens inside a single-family dwelling unit, multi family dwelling unit(s) or rental unit. No person shall slaughter any chickens within the City of Melcher-Dallas.

(3) No person shall keep a rooster.

(4) No person shall keep chickens on a vacant or uninhabited tract of land.

12. Nuisances. Any violation of the terms of this Chapter that constitutes a health hazard or that interferes with the use or enjoyment of neighboring property is a nuisance and may be abated under the general nuisance abatement provisions of Melcher-Dallas City Code Chapter 50.
(Ord. 130 – Feb. 16 Supp.)