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Proposed pet ordinance will help businesses, city says

An assistant city attorney said Friday that a proposed ordinance will eventually give pet businesses more location choices in the future if they want to move within the city.

“They could have more flexibility and more opportunities, but make it clear that they have those opportunities in those districts,” Assistant City Attorney Kinsley Groote said Friday. “That’s where we’re headed with it, to help these types of businesses.”

Groote said the city is looking at amending zoning district ordinances for future potential changes since businesses encompassed in kennels now are restricted to light industrial areas.

The proposed ordinance, which is 18 pages long and addresses regulations, business licenses, and how the Humane Society handles impounded pets, will be up for its first reading at the Rapid City Council’s Monday night meeting.

The ordinance changes definitions and separates kennels — or overnight facilities for household/domesticated animals six months or older in return for payment — from pet daycares, groomers and pet stores. Each business would require its own license. The current "kennel" licenses cost $50.

Pet daycares would be facilities that care for household or domesticated animals six months in return for payment but doesn’t fit the description of a kennel. Pet grooming businesses would be facilities established “that have a primary business purpose of grooming animals” and doesn’t fit under the definition of kennel.

Currently, all pet businesses are classified as a “kennel.”

“The idea is we need to separate out businesses because they do different things,” Groote said. “It affects where businesses are allowed in zoning districts.”

Business owners would still need to have an inspection before receiving a license. License fees would be established by a resolution from the Rapid City Council. Groote said if the first reading of the ordinance passes, a fee resolution would likely be seen on the same agenda as the second reading, which would be July 6.

The resolution would include proposed fees for pet ownership, business licensing and duplicate tags for pets.

If the proposed ordinance is approved, it would be effective Aug. 1, although new licenses wouldn’t be necessary until  Jan. 1, 2022.

Groote said the city would send letters to businesses to make them aware of the changes and enforcement actions wouldn’t be taken until Jan. 1.

“That is the plan so far,” she said. “Obviously, we will work with the groups and give them time to get the new licenses that are specific to their business.”

Groote said businesses with multiple services would need to check with the city to find out what license, or licenses, they would need. 

“It depends on what their missions are,” she said. “We don’t want to brand it as a one-size fits all.”

The current kennel license fee is $50. Under the proposed ordinance, licenses for kennels, pet daycares, pet grooming businesses and pet stores would be $50 each.

Groote said individuals or businesses that care for four or more pets overnight for compensation that belong to a different person or people would need a kennel license.

The licenses to have a spayed/neutered cat/dog and unspayed/unneutered cat/dog would stay the same under the proposed resolution. 

The fee for a neutered/spayed cat would be $5 per year while an unspayed/unneutered cat would be $10 per year. For dogs, a license would be $8 and $16 respectively. 

Licenses are granted by the Designated Animal Control Authority, which is the Humane Society of the Black Hills. Groote said the city has a contract with the Humane Society to be the designated animal control authority. She said all fees from licenses and impoundment go to the Humane Society.

The organization has a nine-member board that includes City Humane Resources Director Nick Stroot, County Public Defender Janki Sharma and council liaison Council member Pat Jones. The organization’s executive director is Jerry Steinley.

Steinley said in an email to the Journal that the membership of the board wouldn’t change and nor would current fees for impoundment of animals. He said fees are based on animal intake, microchips, vaccinations, licensing and more.

Under the proposed ordinance, the Impoundment Authority section is expanded to include and clarify that an animal control officer, any law enforcement officer, the authority or any other person with proper authority is able to impound an animal for any violation of municipal code involving an animal.

It adds that the owner of the animal is responsible for any fees associated with the impoundment, which could include microchipping, vaccination, care and treatment, boarding licensing and animal services. The fees could be set by the authority but the city council could set the maximum fee by resolution.

The Humane Society will attempt to contact the owner that the animal is impounded. If they are contacted, the owner has three days from the time of contact to reclaim it. According to the ordinance, if the owner doesn’t reclaim the animal by the end of the third day, the Humane Society can “humanely destroy it, sell it, or give it away.”

Steinley said the shelter doesn't euthanize animals because they aren't claimed by the owner or not adopted. 

"Animals are euthanized at the Humane Society for health and behavior issues, not time at the shelter," he said.

If the owner can’t be contacted or the owner isn’t known, information will be posted about the animal on the website.

To contact owners, the Humane Society scans for microchips, checks for licenses, checks with staff for notices of missing animals and uses a “general knowledge of the neighborhood to possibly know where the animal is from,” Steinley said. 

Steinley said the impoundment process won’t change at the Humane Society and when an animal is adopted, the fees are not passed to the adoptee.

He said the Humane Society takes in about 5,000 animals each year and adopts thousands back out.

“There will be a few more categories of licenses and more accurate language but overall it’s pretty much business as usual with the current processes and fee structures in place currently,” Steinley said. “We do a lot of work down here to manage thousands of animals in this community and that won’t change.”

The ordinance also amends that “it is unlawful for any person to keep livestock or a chicken, duck, goose, turkey, or other fowl on a parcel or lot” if it’s in violation of Title 17.

The proposed ordinance would also change the penalty for violations of provisions for a maximum of $500 and/or up to 30 days in jail.

Groote said that puts the penalty in line with any other city ordinance violation. The current penalty for a violation for any provision in Title 6 is a misdemeanor and a maximum fine of $100 or confinement of up to 30 days in the county jail, or both.

— Contact Siandhara Bonnet at

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