Camden County working to implement animal ordinance

CAMDENTON, Mo. -- "There's never been any [animal] ordinances in Camden County."

That's what Sheriff Tony Helms, the Camden County Health Department, and local animal shelters are trying to change.

The ordinance would make it that no one is allowed to allow any animal to run freely - or what the sheriff's office calls "at large" in the county.

"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."

Under the ordinance, a dog or cat must be chipped with the owners address and contact information, or wear a collar with a tag showing that information if the animal is older than nine months.

"Our goal is to return them to the owner and tell the owner they have a responsibility to that animal," Helms added.

The ordinance will also require dog or cat owners older than three months to be vaccinated.

The ordinance also outlines new laws for how dog bites will be handled. If 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.

It also would allow law enforcement to deem a dog of any breed as a vicious dog if there are several complaints against it. It sets up an advisory board that will evaluate the report 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 also describes a county shelter for animals that are picked up by officers. That doesn't exist yet, but Helms says they want to try and get one set up by the end of the year as a lot of the shelters around the Lake of the Ozarks area are just too crowded.

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