Animal Control

Animals need tags!!

Our Animal Control person, Gary Nieuwsma, is encouraging all residents with pets to make sure they have an identification tag so the pet can be returned to their owners if they stray. Recently two dogs have been rescued and even though they both had collars, neither had any identification tags. This will certainly save you some impoundment and shelter expenses also.

Animal Control Ordinance

Ordinance No. 2016-0502


The Board of Supervisors of the Township of Turtle Lake ordains:

Section 1.1 – Authority. This Ordinance is adopted pursuant to the Township Board’s authority under Minnesota Statutes, sections 366.01, subdivision 2; Minnesota Statutes, Chapters 346 and 347; and such other authority as may apply.

Section 1.2 – Definitions. Any term not defined in this section shall have the meaning given in Minnesota Statutes, Chapters 346 and 347, to the extent defined therein.
(a) Abandoned. To leave a dog or cat at large within the Township without intending to return to or recover it. It shall also mean to purposefully leave a dog or cat in the possession of the Animal Control Officer.

(b) Animal Control Officer. The person appointed by the Township Board to provide animal control operations within the Township. The Animal Control Officer’s primary function involves enforcement of this Ordinance and other laws dealing with dogs and cats. The Animal Control Officer shall also be construed to include any licensed law enforcement officer.

© Animal Warden. Any person or entity designated by the Township Board to house, hold, confine, or board dogs or cats seized or impounded herein. The Animal Warden shall be appointed and serve at the pleasure of the Township Board.

(d) At Large. A dog or cat off the premises of the owner and not under the physical control (by leash or by voice) of the owner, a member of the owner’s immediate family, or a person designated by the owner.

(e) Bona Fide Livestock Operation. A farm (of 40 acres or more in size) on which horses, cows, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, or other common farm animals are kept, raised, bred, or sold as a part of a business enterprise.

(f) Cat. A domesticated member of the Felidae family (Felis Catus) born, raised, and kept as a pet. The term does not include any type of bobcat, lynx, or other type of wild cat.

(g) Commercial Kennel. A kennel where dogs or cats are bred or sold for re-sale, individually or in litter lots, whether or not any of these animals are also kept for personal use, and where the business may be a primary source of income. Commercial kennels also include places where dogs or cats are boarded, groomed, or trained for a fee.

(h) Dog. A domesticated member of the Canidae family (Canis lupus familiaris) born, raised, and kept as a pet. The term does not include any type of fox, wolf, or similar type of wild animal.

(i) Owner. Any person, firm, corporation, organization, or department possessing, harboring, keeping, having an interest in, or having care, custody, or control of a dog or cat.

Section 1.3. Exemptions. Except where duties are expressly stated, this Ordinance does not apply to hospitals, clinics, and other premises operated by licensed veterinarians exclusively for the care and treatment of dogs or cats. This Ordinance does not apply to law enforcement dogs kept by K-9 officers and that are actively involved in law enforcement duties.

Section 1.4. Animal Control Officer. The Animal Control Officer shall have police powers necessary for enforcement of this Ordinance, including authority to issue citations for violations.

Section 1.5. Coordination with Veterinarians. The Township may enter into agreements with veterinarians to assist in the administration of the provisions of this Ordinance. Said agreements shall ensure that an orderly system is set up to coordinate the licensing, vaccination, impoundment, quarantine, euthanization, as needed, of dogs and cats within the Township. Said agreement shall also provide for a reasonable method of compensating veterinarians for the services that they provide to the Township.

Section 1.6. Repealer. The “Ordinance for the Regulation of Dogs and Cats” adopted by the Township Board in September 1994 is hereby repealed. This Ordinance, together with the applicable provisions of the Turtle Lake Township Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance, contain the primary regulations adopted by the Township Board regarding animals and shall apply within the Township in addition to any applicable provisions of federal and state law.


Section 2.1. Kennels. It shall be unlawful to operate a commercial kennel unless such kennel is allowed in the particular zoning district in which it is located and all permits required by this Ordinance and all applicable zoning ordinances are obtained.


SECTION 3.1 – Abandonment. No person shall abandon any dog or cat within the Township.

SECTION 3.2 – Nuisances. The following shall be deemed a nuisance:
Subd. 1. Running at Large. No person shall allow a dog or cat to run at large at any time; provided, that such animal shall not be deemed to be running at large if it is on a leash or under physical and/or voice control of an accompanying person or if it is upon the property of the owner. The Animal Control Officer may impound any dog or cat found running at large. This Subdivision shall not apply to a dog used as a necessary element of a bona fide livestock operation.

Subd. 2. Property Damage. Any dog or cat that damages property (that is not the property of the owner).

Subd. 3. Dogs Chasing. Any dog that, without provocation, chases, molests, or approaches pedestrians or bicyclists in a threatening manner upon the streets, sidewalks, right-of-way, or any public property, or habitually chases automobiles on the public streets or highways.

Subd. 4. Unsanitary Conditions. Any dog or cat that is kept in unsanitary or inhumane conditions such that the maintenance or keeping of the dog or cat creates odors that reasonably annoy the public in the vicinity.

Subd. 5. Kills or Attacks. Any dog that kills or attacks another domestic animal or livestock without provocation while off the owner’s property.

Subd. 6. Disturb the Peace. The owning, keeping, or harboring of any dog or cat which shall by any noise, habitually, unreasonably or excessively disturb the peace and quiet of any person in the vicinity. The phrase “habitually, unreasonably or excessively disturb the peace and quiet” shall include, but is not limited to, the creation of any noise by a dog or cat which can be heard by any person, including an Animal Control Officer or law enforcement officer, from a location off the animal owner’s property where the animal is being kept, and which noise occurs habitually and repeatedly over at least a 30-minute period of time with one minute or less lapse of time between each animal noise during the 30-minute period. This provision shall not apply to dogs that are responding to trespassers or to dogs that are teased or similarly provoked to bark.
SECTION 3.3 – Basic Care & Sanitation. All dogs and cats within the Township shall be provided with the minimum basic requirements such as, but not limited to, kind treatment, shelter during inclement weather and sufficient food and water, consistent with Minnesota Statute 346.39.

SECTION 3.4 – Complaints. Any person may notify the Township of an alleged violation of this Ordinance. Those making a complaint shall, to the extent reasonably possible, describe the dog or cat, state the acts or conditions alleged to constitute a violation of this Ordinance, give the name and address of the person owning the dog or cat, and the name and the address of the person making the complaint. The complaint shall be made to a Township Board Member or the Township Animal Control Officer, who shall then follow up on the complaint as that person determines is appropriate. Information regarding the identity of the person making the complaint shall be kept confidential.


SECTION 4.1 – Dangerous or Potentially Dangerous Dogs. The Town will regulate dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs consistent with Minnesota Statutes §§ 347.50-.565.

If a dog is declared dangerous or potentially dangerous, the Township must notify the owner of the dog in accordance with the requirements set forth in Minnesota Statute 347.541, subdivision 3.

The annual fee payable to the Township to retain ownership of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog within the Township, shall be $500 per year after the rules and regulations stated in the above statutes are followed.


SECTION 5.1 – Requirements. An owner of a dog or cat within the Township shall have the animal identified by a current rabies registration tag and/or a form of identification containing at a minimum, some form of owner identification, such as but not limited to the owner’s name and current phone number, affixed to the collar and the collar shall be worn by the animal at all times.


SECTION 6.1 – Impounding. Reasonable attempts will be made to locate a dog or cat’s owner, however, if the owner cannot be found, the dog or cat may be impounded. All fees associated with impounding a dog or cat will be the responsibility of the owner. The fees must be paid prior to the dog or cat being released.
In the case where any dog or cat has been impounded whose rabies vaccination is not current, said dog or cat shall not be released unless the owner provides proof the dog or cat is current on the vaccination or obtains and provides written evidence from a licensed veterinarian that arrangements have been made and fees have been paid to that veterinarian to vaccinate the dog or cat upon its release.

SECTION 7.1 – Rabies. Whenever any person who owns, possesses, or harbors any dog or cat within the Township learns that the dog or cat has bitten any human being or another dog or cat, such person shall immediately quarantine such dog or cat for a period of at least 14 days, keeping it apart from other animals until it is determined whether the dog or cat has rabies or not. The quarantine may be by the person owning the dog or cat if such dog or cat has a current rabies vaccination at the time the bite occurred. If the dog or cat does not have a current rabies vaccination at the time the bite occurred, the dog or cat must be impounded at a licensed pound or with a licensed veterinarian. After the required 14 day quarantine, the dog or cat shall be examined by a licensed veterinarian to ensure that there are no clinical signs of rabies. The animal must be brought up to date with a current rabies vaccination before being released. If the dog or cat is found to be rabid, it shall be humanely euthanized at the owner’s expense. Cost of confinement, maintenance, vaccinations and testing shall be the responsibility of the owner.


SECTION 8.1 – Fees and Penalties. The Animal Control Officer and Animal
Warden may charge such reasonable impounding fees for the care and boarding of any dog or cat restrained or impounded and any and all such fees so imposed shall be paid to the Animal Control Officer and Animal Warden at the time of delivery or reclaiming the dog or cat. The Town Board shall review all fees, as necessary, so imposed by the Animal Control Officer and Animal Warden to determine their reasonableness, and may, by resolution, impose such additional fees reasonably related to the necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by the Town for the capture, transportation, and care of impounded dogs or cats and the general enforcement of this ordinance. All such fees must be paid to the Animal Control Officer, Animal Warden, or Town prior to release of the animal or upon receipt of a bill from the Town. The Animal Control Officer, Animal Warden, or Town shall issue a receipt to the owner evidencing such payment.

Any person, firm, or corporation violating any of the provisions of this Ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
SECTION 8.2 – Collection of Fees. All fees, costs and charges imposed pursuant to this Ordinance constitute, and shall be deemed, service charges collectable by the Township pursuant to any authority available to it under law. The Township has the authority to collect any unpaid service charges by certifying the amount to the County Auditor of any county in Minnesota in which the recipient of the service owns real property pursuant to Minnesota Statute 366.012.
This Ordinance shall be effective upon the first day of publication after adoption.

Adopted on the 2nd day of May, 2016.


______________________________ Town Board Chair

Attest: ______________________________ Town Clerk