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Government

Kansas City Wants Citizen Help To Improve Animal Abuse Ordinances

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A dog sweltering in a locked car on a 95 degree day – or tethered in the yard by a heavy chain for hours with no water. It's agonizing for an animal lover to see those sights. 

To avoid such scenarios, Kansas City is asking for help with improving its animal control ordinance. It contains the city's statutory rules on animal neglect and abuse.

Like animal lovers and animal rights activists, city leaders are frustrated. Responding to calls from concerned citizens, the city animal shelter took in 3900 abused or neglected animals last year. 

But in many cases that was after investigations that took weeks or months. And sometimes animal control officers said even though common sense told them the animal's owner had violated the city ordinance, and there was no way to prove it.

So the city is inviting animal-loving citizens to get involved in improving the lengthy ordinance.

To make it easy, everything is online at www.kcmomentum.org.

They are asking the public to read the ordinance, Chapter 14 of Kansas City’s Code of Ordinances and make suggestions through an online form at the kcmomentum website.

City Communications Director Chris Hernandez said this is the time for animal rights activists to make concrete suggestions on what the city can do to improve the animal-protection process. 

Hernandez did offer some advice to those who want to offer suggestions. Hernandez cautions that the United States Constitution guarantees due process and protects against illegal search and seizure. Animals, he adds, are considered personal property.

Hernandez says the animal control officers themselves agree that they need a clearly written, comprehensive ordinance that clearly spells out what constitutes violations and what the consequences are. 

But he says those same officers say the solution in some cases is to provide information, education and perhaps resources for the animal owner before slapping an owner with a fine or confiscating animals and taking them to the city animal shelter.

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