Camden County hopes for its first animal ordinance

Photo by Diego Duarte Cereceda on Unsplash

CAMDENTON, MO – A new ordinance may be coming to town. At least, that’s the hope of Sheriff Tony Helms, the Camden County Health Department, and local animal shelters. “There’s never been any [animal] ordinances in Camden County,” according to Helms.

Municipalities in many areas have ordinances against “at large” animals but not Camden County. The county does not even have a county shelter.

“We’re not targeting dogs running lose on a farm. We’re not targeting dogs that hunt,” Helms said. “But we’re trying very hard to place ordinance on your animal must be chipped.”

The new ordinance will hold owners accountable for their dogs and cats through micro-chipping, rabies vaccination and animal bite handling.

Dogs and cats over three months will need rabies vaccinations.

When a dog or cat bites someone, the county could impound the dog for observation for a period of 10 days to watch for any signs of rabies.

Dangerous dogs could face a trial, sort of. Law enforcement may deem a dog of any breed as a vicious dog if there are several complaints against it. An advisory board will evaluate reports of dangerous dogs and determine if a dog should be considered viscous or a nuisance.

“It is our job and our duty to keep you and the citizens of this community safe,” Helms said.

The ordinance describes a county shelter for animals that doesn’t exist yet, but Helms says the county wants to get one set up by the end of the year to help with overcrowding of many shelters around the Lake of the Ozarks area.