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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — On the recommendation of the public safety committee, the Elk Mound Village Board has decided not to license cats.
The Elk Mound Public Safety Committee met at 5:30 p.m. February 5 before the Elk Mound Village Board meeting at 6 p.m. to discuss the issue.
Elk Mound does regulate cats and dogs, but the issue is whether cats should be licensed in the same way dogs are licensed, noted Pat Hahn, village clerk-treasurer.
Under Section 7-1-3 (4) of the village ordinances, “Upon payment of the required license tax and upon presentation of evidence that the dog is currently immunized against rabies, as required by Section 7-1-2 of this Chapter, the Village Clerk-Treasurer shall complete and issue to the owner a license for such dog containing all information required by state law. The Village Clerk-Treasurer shall also deliver to the owner, at the time of the issuance of the license, a tag of durable material bearing the same serial number as the license, the name of the county in which issued and the license year.”
Licensing of cats would be mean more work for the police chief, said Village Trustee Greg Kipp, who is a member of the public safety committee.
State law treats dogs and cats differently. Dogs are required to have a rabies tag, said Elk Mound Police Chief Chad Weinberger.
Residents in Elk Mound can live trap stray cats and take them to the Dunn County Humane Society. The police department also has a live trap that can be used to trap cats, he said.
The issue of licensing cats in the village came to the attention of the village board and Police Chief Weinberger because a village resident complained about cats living in a boat on his property.
The police chief said the resident had said he would be at the public safety committee meeting and at the village board meeting following, but the resident did not attend either meeting.
Elk Mound has had minimal complaints about cats, and most communities do not license them, Kipp said.
The Elk Mound Police Department has worked with the Dunn County Humane Society “with great success,” Police Chief Weinberger said.
That’s why the village pays the annual per capita fee to the humane society — so that stray dogs and cats can be taken there when necessary, he said.
When village residents bring a complaint to a village board members instead of coming to the police department, there’s a certain “disconnect,” Police Chief Weinberger said.
Larger municipalities do license cats, but it is difficult to judge compliance, he said.
On the other hand, the police department receives or initiates almost daily contacts about dogs, either about license requirements for dogs, or dogs that appear not to be licensed, or dogs that are running at large or dogs that have been lost, Police Chief Weinberger said.
The village’s ordinance about an animal at large would apply to either a dog or a cat, he noted.
The village already has enough regulations in place that if there is a complaint about a cat, the village resident can go through the proper channels to address it, said Deborah Creaser-Kipp, village trustee and chair of the public safety committee.
If complaints do come to village board members, then the village board should pass the complaint onto the police department so the complaint goes through the proper channels, she sad.
The Elk Mound Village Board’s Public Safety Committee unanimously approved a motion to recommend that the village board not license cats based on the current regulations in place.
Village Trustee Paula Turner also serves on the public safety committee.
Later on at the village board meeting, Police Chief Weinberger told the board that a village resident had contacted a board member about cats at large but that the Elk Mound Police Department had not been aware of the problem.
Police Chief Weinberger said he attempted to contact the resident and eventually was able to speak with him.
The police chief told the village board the resident had said he would attend the public safety committee and the village board meeting but that the resident had not attended the committee meeting.
The public safety committee is recommending the village board not move forward with licensing cats, and if a board member receives a complaint, he or she should forward the complaint to the police chief, Creaser-Kipp said.
A live trap is available to take the cats to the Dunn County Humane Society, and if the police department is unable to identify a dog or cat owner, then the village board and village residents can rest assured the animal is being cared for at the humane society, she said.
If the owner of an animal at large is found, then there is a process to follow, Police Chief Weinberger said.
The owner first receives a verbal warning, and if the animal is at large again, the owner receives a written warning, he said.
The third and fourth time an animal is at large, the owner receives a citation and is required to pay “pound fees,” the police chief said.
The Dunn County Humane Society contract works well, he said.
The Elk Mound Village Board unanimously approved a motion to not move forward on licensing cats based on the current regulations in the ordinance.
In addition to Kipp, Creaser-Kipp and Turner, Village Trustees Terry Stamm, Rebecca Livingston and Jesse Jenson voted in favor of the motion.
Village President Steven Abraham was absent from the meeting.
According to the Village of Elk Mound ordinances posted on the village’s website, Elk Mound does require a kennel license for up to four dogs or cats or any combination of four dogs or cats.
Under section 7-1-22, “(1) No residential unit shall own, harbor or keep in its possession more than a total of two dogs or two cats, or a combined total of four dogs and cats, in any residential unit without the prior issuance of a kennel license by the Village Board except that a litter of pups or kittens or a portion of a litter may be kept for not more than 10 weeks from birth.”
In May of 2019, the Colfax Village Board approved an ordinance requiring a kennel license for up to six dogs or cats or any combination of six dogs and cats.
The Colfax ordinance also stipulates that any dog or cat breeder must have a kennel license as well.