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9:23 PM Tue, Nov. 13th

Changes in Prescott Valley animal codes now in effect

New dog license fees effective July 28

As of this weekend, penalties under the Prescott Valley animal code for a first offense for barking dog or dog off leash is a civil violation. If owners receive another violation within a 12-month period, they could be subject to a criminal violation for the repeat offense.

As of this weekend, penalties under the Prescott Valley animal code for a first offense for barking dog or dog off leash is a civil violation. If owners receive another violation within a 12-month period, they could be subject to a criminal violation for the repeat offense.

Effective Saturday, July 28, changes in the Prescott Valley animal code and licensing fees went into effect. The Town Council approved the changes recommended by Prescott Valley Police Chief Byron Jarrell at its June 28 meeting.

Jarrell said at a June 7 study session that previously the town gave citations that were criminal misdemeanor violations for having a dog off a leash or for a barking dog. When Phoenix residents visit the town and get a citation and don’t respond, he explained, after 12 months, a warrant is issued, and the person could be arrested and sit in jail for up to 14 days.

“That just doesn’t make sense,” Jarrell said.

Staff looked at other surrounding jurisdictions, made recommendations, and council members approved the changes June 28.

As of this weekend, penalties for a first offense for barking dog or dog off leash is a civil violation. If owners receive another violation within a 12-month period, they could be subject to a criminal violation for the repeat offense.

When a resident is cited for a dog not having a license, and if the owner can later show proof of a license, the fine will be dropped.

“Other animal offenses, such as animal cruelty, in which the first violation would be criminal, would carry a stiffer penalty for a second offense within a 12-month period,” reports PV Animal Control Supervisor James Risinger in a recent news release.

In comparison, the City of Prescott website states that violating the barking dog or dog off leash ordinances can result in a petty offense violation and a fine not to exceed $300.

Another Prescott Valley change in the purchase of dog licenses makes a license good for one year from the purchase date, rather than an expiration on Dec. 31. The town offers one-, two- and three-year licenses in two price ranges, one for altered (spayed or neutered) and one for unaltered animals. A $2 increase for altered animals, and $1 increase for unaltered animals is now in effect.

Previously, three records clerks handled about 2,200 dog licenses a year. The town now contracts with PetData for online, mail and phone service to license or renew.

In addition, PetData sends out reminders when the renewal is due, something the town was unable to do. A one-time fee of $1,000 paid for the website and transfer of data. The town’s website contains a link to PetData for more information.

“The increase in the dog license fees will help offset the cost of the licensing company’s services,” Risinger stated. “The overall plan is to provide comparative fines and penalties for the Town of Prescott Valley and to provide better management to licensing the community’s dogs.”

Prescott dog owners pay $6 per year to license their pets for altered animals and $30 for unaltered. Licenses are due on or before Jan. 1 of each year, with an $8 late fee assessed after that date. For people moving here mid-year, the fee is pro-rated.

To find information on dog license prices and requirements in Prescott Valley, visit pvaz.net/323/Licensing-Your-Pet.

The updated Nuisance Animal/Barking Dog page at pvaz.net/860/Nuisance-Animal-Barking-Dog contains suggestions on dealing with nuisance barking dogs.

And, the lost pet page can be found at pvaz.net/881/Lost-Pet with links to PV Animal Control and to several other local missing pet sites that you can post on.

For information on Prescott’s Animal Control licensing and spay/neuter operations, visit prescott-az.gov/services-safety/police/about-the-police-dept/animal-control.