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The Lemhi County Humane Society and the Animal Shelter have requested more help from local law enforcement in answering complaints of animal abuse.

At the January 2 meeting of the Salmon City Council Animal Shelter Manager Angela Pickering said there are a lot of repeat offenders however, “The ones who are abusing the animal seem to get treated better than the ones wanting to help the animal.” She said shelter people get blamed for no response when in fact they do everything they can but are not getting any law enforcement backing.

Michael O’Brien said he sees too many dogs running loose and is himself a victim of a dog bite. He urged law enforcement to take a look at existing regulations and suggested the council consider more funding for an animal control officer.

Cindy Phelps said the Humane Society gets stuck between a rock and hard spot. The society does investigate complaints by approaching the subject of complaint, offering to help with food or whatever is needed and if that fails, in about ten percent of the cases, they call for law enforcement. She said they feel that law enforcement is not enforcing the law and that good citizens are, “…getting bonked over the head and the people doing the abusing are being enabled by law enforcement to repeat the process.”

Phelps cited one repeat offender case where the neighbor reporting the abuse was threatened by the alleged offender. She said there are local and state laws on the books which deal with animal care and welfare and that they need to be enforced but aren’t because, “We don’t have a viable Animal Control Officer.”

She said she knows it’s tough to fund that position but that perhaps it can be done by working together.

Phelps requested a meeting be arranged between city and county law enforcement and the Humane Society.

Mayor Leo Marshall asked Councilman and Public Safety Team Chairman Ken Hill to place the subject on the team’s next meeting agenda.

Last month the council discussed a sewer and water fee waiver request by owners of a home that was destroyed by fire. City Attorney Fred Snook was asked to research the legalities of waiving a fee that had to do with a bond payment. He reported to the council they could legally waive the monthly fee without significant impact on the bond payment but suggested if they do they place a time limit on the waiver. He said the main issue is setting a precedent. Councilman Jim Bockelman suggested a procedure be established for instances of catastrophic events to which co-council members Fred Waidely and Jesse Bender agreed. Councilman Jim Baker said since there is a two month period where no fee action against the property owners will be taken the council has time to decide on a specific procedure. A proposal to draft an ordinance dealing with catastrophic situations passed and Snook was asked to begin the writing process.

During the last Public Comment period of the evening City Clerk Mary Benton recalled the late 1970’s flooding that affected a north side portion of town for months. She suggested a cap be placed on the maximum amount the city can waive and that any fee waiver considerations be made on a case by case basis.

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