Proposed animal noise regulations debated

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

The Jasper Common Council has been working on amending the public nuisance ordinance for months. At Wednesday’s meeting, council members discussed what language should be used in the ordinance regarding animals.

“The real change that was all controversial was what to do about the noise,” City Attorney Renee Kabrick said.

The most recent draft reads that it will be illegal to have animals that make noise “which by its volume or frequency unreasonably disturbs or interferes with the peace and quiet of any person or of the neighborhood.”

This regulation, however, will not apply to commercial animal facilities such as veterinary hospitals or grooming parlors in most cases.

Council member Nancy Eckerle said she doesn't think there should be any exceptions to the rule, so residents can be treated equal to businesses.

Eckerle said she’s concerned about residents such as Karla Neukam, who in past months has voiced concerns about the nearby kennel, Downtown Dog. Neukam said she can hear barking from the kennel nearly every day and sometimes for several hours at a time. With the current version of the draft, Downtown Dog would not be in violation because it is a commercial business.

Eckerle said she is also concerned about the definition of “unreasonable” and the officers handling violations on a case-by-case basis.

“I have high respect for the officers, but they don’t live there,” she said.

Council member John Schroeder agreed. Dogs bark at him on his walk every morning, he said, but it has never bothered him. It may, however, be unreasonable to neighbors that have to listen to the dogs barking all day, he said.

Ultimately, Eckerle and several other council members expressed desire to include an animal section in the public nuisance ordinance but not include exemptions.

Kabrick said the council members will continue to do their own research and come back to December’s meeting with ideas on how to construct the animal section.

“Until we come up with final language on the public nuisance ordinance, I don’t think that you’re probably in a position to decide what you want to do with the animal ordinance,” Kabrick told council members.

Those with questions or comments are encouraged to contact Kabrick at Jasper City Hall before the group’s next meeting. The Jasper Common Council is scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 22.

The council also:

• Passed two resolutions approving waivers of non-compliance for late-filed assessed valuation deduction documents for Kimball Furniture Group and Kimball Hospitality.

• Discussed several other parts of the public nuisance ordinance draft, including how to persuade residents to keep their homes maintained and not in violation, especially habitual offenders who have received violations up to several times a year, and details about where cars and trailers can be parked on residents’ properties.

• Passed an ordinance appropriating additional money for the city for the rest of the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2020. The police department is appropriated $168,000 for a dispatch console, city hall $75,000 for technology upgrades, the engineering department $48,000 for upgrades and the common council $20,000 for laptops.

• Passed an ordinance to transfer appropriations for the city for the rest of the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2020. Each department can move money around to make sure all accounts have a positive balance.

• Passed a resolution approving a resolution regarding the sale of industrial recovery tax credits.

• Approved a gas contractor’s license for Ronald J. Lindsey, Jr., of Nunning Heating and Air.




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