Amendments to Branson’s Municipal Code regarding animals has once again become a topic of conversation.
Proposed amendments to Chapter 14 - Animals of the Branson Municipal Code was presented by Branson Police Chief Jeff Matthews at the Nov. 19 Board of Aldermen Study Session.
The summary of major changes include:
- Licensing programs for dogs and cats
- Limitation on the number of animals in residences and lodging establishments
- Amend commercial animal establishments
- Amend dangerous and vicious dog ordinance
- Add prohibition for exotic animals
The proposed fees have a discussed effective date of Jan.1, 2022 and the licensing requirements would only apply to residents of the city of Branson.
Community stakeholders, which is a list of local agencies including local vets, local establishments that have animals, etc., provided their input on the draft ordinance and information provided to them and provided various feedback.
“The stakeholders in looking at everything that we provided them, all the draft ordinance, they suggested that we grandfather existing families that have multiple dogs or cats, and we don’t restrict them to the limitations,” said Matthews. “When we talk about exotic animals, they asked us to grandfather Savannah Cats ... we have several that are housed in residences in the city already.
“They’ve asked for additional language on feeding feral cats. They’ve asked us to prohibit feeding feral cats within the city (and) then the ability to wave fees and enter payment plans on a case by case basis for the licensing that we’re asking for.”
According to the presentation, the newly proposed requirements for animal licensing would include the following language:
“It shall be the duty of every person owning, keeping or harboring in the city any dog or cat to procure an animal license from the finance director. No animal license shall be issued without a current rabies certificate from a state licensed veterinarian.
“Animal Licenses are based on a calendar year and the fees are listed in the city fee schedule. Fees may be established for a period of either one year or three years. A three year license shall only be issued if the dog or cat has a three year rabies vaccine certificate from a state licensed veterinarian. Late fees may be assessed for licenses not purchased within 60 days.”
Also included is the exemption of service dogs from the fee, however they would still be required to be licensed. As well as how, no refund would be made for licensed animals that are deceased or otherwise removed from the city limits during the period of the license.
A detailed license fee schedule is also included in the proposal. Branson used to have licensing fees for pets; however, at this time none currently exist.
Also included in the proposal are limitations on animals. This section would put a limit of three animals, over the age of 120 days (any combination of dog, cat or ferret) on lodging establishments and nightly rentals.
This section would put a limitation of four animals, over the age of 120 days, on residences or apartments.
According to the presentation, a grandfather clause would be recommended for residents due to this being a new requirement.
“What is not in this presentation is some information that we recently obtained that the Shepherd of the Hills Humane Society is asking us to enter an agreement with them so that we no longer deliver cats to the Taney County Animal Shelter, (and) that we take those cats directly to the Shepherd of the Hills Humane Society,” said Matthews. “They have an agreement with three adoption facilities, and those cats are seen by their staff veterinarian, spayed and neutered, and then released to those adoption agencies.”
According to Matthews, currently stray cats are delivered to the Taney County Animal Shelter and they are put on a mandatory seven day stray hold. The city pays the county $80 per animal to hold them, after that stray hold is lifted, Shepherd of the Hills Humane Society goes to the shelter and picks up all of the cats.
This agreement is approved by the Taney County Animal Shelter, according to Matthews, and would take the fee from $80 to $65 per cat delivered directly to the Shepherd of the Hills Humane Society.
In another study session on Sept. 19, 2019 ,a similar proposal regarding amendments to Chapter 14 was presented to the aldermen.
According to Matthews, staff was “asked to go back and identify community stakeholders, get their input on this and then bring it back,” and now they have.
According to Chapter 14 of Branson’s code of ordinances, there are currently rules on location of pens and coops, keeping swine, depositing the carcass of a dead animal, migratory bird feeding, animals disturbing the peace, animal abuse and more.
To view Branson Municipal Code, visit bransonmo.gov ; scroll to the very bottom, click ‘Municipal Code’, then click ‘Chapter 14 - ANIMALS’ from the list.
This topic is currently just an area of discussion. It has not been brought to the aldermen for a vote, and no official meeting for this topic has been scheduled at this time. More information will be given once made available.
Study Sessions are used by city departments to bring forth topics to the aldermen to provide background information and let the aldermen ask questions. No votes are taken at the study sessions, no public input is given, study sessions are used simply to convey information to the aldermen.
This item may come before the aldermen at a later time for approval.