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(A) The Director, Assistant Director, and all Animal Control Officers of Animal Services shall have the powers of a peace officer for the purposes of enforcing animal control laws or ordinances in the county if they otherwise qualify as a peace officer under the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
(B) All Animal Control Officers of Animal Services shall comply with KRS 61.300.
(C) Whenever it is necessary for Animal Services to make an inspection in order to perform any duty or enforce any provision of this chapter or any other applicable state statute, they are hereby empowered to enter property at a reasonable time and inspect the premises. Animal Services shall have the power only if consent of the owner or occupant of the property is freely given, a search warrant is obtained or such exigent circumstances exist that a warrantless, non-consensual search is required.
(D) All animals of any age running at large, as defined in this chapter, and found in the county, may be picked up by Animal Services and impounded in the animal shelter. If Animal Services can reasonably return the animal they may do so and may issue a uniform citation to the owner. Community cats that have been ear-tipped, sterilized, and vaccinated under the Trap-Neuter-Return Program may be released back into the community and are not subject to impoundment under this section.
(E) All animals of any age which have bitten a human being may be picked up by Animal Services and impounded in the animal shelter for any applicable quarantine period. In the event an animal is impounded for a quarantine period, the owner shall be responsible for a reasonable fee for board, administration and medical attention during the impoundment.
(F) Any animal that is off the property of its owner and displays behavior of a vicious animal, as defined in § 51.000, and an animal control officer or law enforcement officer has reason to believe the animal poses a threat to the safety of the general public, the animal shall be taken into custody by Animal Services and the owner shall be issued a uniform citation for harboring a vicious animal. The animal shall remain in the custody of the county until the accused is given a hearing before a district court judge. Should that judge find probable cause for a charge of harboring a vicious animal, the court shall order temporary forfeiture of the animal to Kenton County Animal Services pending final disposition of the case.
(G) Any dog, required to be licensed but found unlicensed may be impounded for a minimum period of five (5) days unless it is earlier claimed by its owner. If the dog is not claimed by its owner within five (5) days of impoundment, the dog may then be offered for adoption or may be euthanized at the discretion of the Director of Animal Services. Any person claiming or reclaiming a dog pursuant to this section shall pay a reasonable fee for board, administration, and medical attention for the dog during impoundment and obtain proper licensing, if applicable, from Animal Services. Animal Services shall make reasonable efforts to locate and inform the owner of any dog that the dog has been impounded.
(H) Any animal involved in an alleged violation of KRS 525.125, 525.130, 525.135, 525.137, or § 51.104 of this chapter may be confiscated by any animal control or peace officer and held in a humane manner. Upon taking custody of an animal pursuant to KRS 525.125, 525.130,525.135, 525.137, or § 51.104 of this chapter, Animal Services shall give notice of the seized animal by posting a notice at the location where the animal is taken into custody or by delivering notice to a person residing at the property. The animal shall remain in the custody of the county until the accused is given a hearing before a district court judge. Should that judge find probable cause for a charge under KRS 525.125, 525.130, 525.135, 525.137, or § 51.104 of this chapter, the court shall order temporary forfeiture of the animal to Kenton County Animal Control.
(1) Upon a plea or finding of guilt, the animal shall become the property of Kenton County. The person convicted for violating KRS 525.125, 525.130, 525.135, 525.137, or § 51.104 of this chapter shall pay all reasonable expenses related to the incidents of cruelty, including investigation, disposition, veterinary costs, and all costs of maintaining or disposing of the animal incurred from the date of confiscation up to and including the date of permanent forfeiture.
(2) Upon a dismissal of the charge or a finding of innocence, the animal shall be immediately returned to the owner. If the owner does not reclaim the dog within three (3) days of the dismissal or acquittal, the animal may be offered for adoption or may be euthanized at the discretion of the Director of Animal Services.
(I) When any licensed animal or animal whose owner is known, is impounded in the animal shelter, Animal Services shall notify the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address, by personal delivery, or by leaving the notice at the person’s usual place of residence with any individual residing therein who is eighteen (18) years of age or older and who is informed of the contents of the notice, within three (3) business days of impoundment.
(J) The registered owner shall reclaim the animal within three (3) days of the receipt of notice of impoundment. Any licensed animal or animal whose owner is known which is not reclaimed by its owner within three (3) days of receipt of the notice of impoundment may then be offered for adoption or may be euthanized at the discretion of the Director of Animal Services. Any person claiming or reclaiming an animal pursuant to this section, shall pay all associated fees for impound, board, administration and medical attention during the impoundment and any outstanding civil citation fees.
(K) An animal control officer or law enforcement officer may choose to issue a warning citation in lieu of a uniform citation if a violation is minor in nature. Violations eligible for the issuance of a warning citation include, but are not limited to, first contact by any officer for failure to vaccinate a pet against the rabies virus, failure to license a pet, creating a public nuisance, animal running at large, the lack of reasonable grooming, or veterinary care were the animal has not suffered harm. The warning citation shall allow up to fourteen (14) days to correct the violation, except violations of public nuisance or running at large shall be corrected immediately. If a violation is serious in nature, a uniform citation may be issued.
(L) An animal control officer or law enforcement officer may choose to issue a civil citation in lieu of a uniform citation for violations listed in division (K) of this section where multiple violations of this chapter exists, or where personal injury occurred, or property was damaged or destroyed, or a previous warning has been issued. The civil citation shall allow up to fourteen (14) days to correct the violation and pay the associated fee. Violations of public nuisance or running at large shall be corrected immediately. If a violation is serious in nature, a uniform citation may be issued.
(1) The fee for civil citations issued under this section are as follows;
(a) First citation is thirty dollars ($30.00) per violation.
(b) Second citation, in any twelve (12)-month period, is fifty-five dollars ($55.00) per violation.
(c) Third citation, in any twelve (12)-month period, is eighty-five dollars ($85.00) per violation.
(2) Four (4) or subsequent offenses is deemed to be habitual in nature and not eligible for civil citation and the Animal Control Officer or law enforcement officer shall issue a uniform citation.
(M) Animal Control Officers are authorized to place, upon request, live-capture animal traps on private or public property to trap and remove stray, at large, unwanted, or nuisance domestic animals. It shall be unlawful for any person other than an animal control officer or his or her designee to remove an animal from the trap or to damage, destroy, move or otherwise tamper with the trap. Any person requesting a live-capture trap must own the subject property and shall be responsible for any lost, stolen, damaged, or otherwise altered traps.
(N) All impound, boarding, administration, and medical fees will be set annually by the Director of Animal Services, with approval of the Fiscal Court.
(Ord. 02-2020, passed 6-8-20)