Boise Idaho – Considering a Long List of New Overreaching Animal Regulations


Boise, Idaho is Considering a Long List of “Compassionate Animal Ordinance” Regulations

The city of Boise, Idaho is one step closer to enacting a sweeping change to their animal ordinance. While there are some positives, there are concerns as well. The proposed ordinance was brought by City Council Member TJ Thomson in mid-2019. Thompson, the sponsor of the ordinance, had consulted with Idaho Humane Society and other stakeholders, but it never progressed beyond a work session until this year. The councilmember called the new language one of the most important things he has worked on in his 11 years on the council. With his decision last year to not run for another term, he specifically named the proposed animal code from 2019 as one of the items he wanted to finish.
Councilmember Thomson stated in an article dated Feb 22, 2021:

“After over two years of work, I am introducing a comprehensive, common-sense, and compassionate animal code that I believe will represent the ‘gold standard’ for our furry friends. My proposals will strengthen our ability as a city to respond to animal cruelty to companion animals, to include animal hoarding, animal abuse, dogs left in hot cars, the sale of puppy mill animals, and parvo puppies sold from cardboard boxes. It also includes a process to humanely control our feral cat population and ends the use of exotic animals in the circus, a practice that is well documented as a form of animal abuse to elephants, bears and large cats.”
Thomson worked with several different agencies when drafting the new ordinance, one being a familiar animal extremist group that is of no surprise: the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Hot Car Law

In a state that has temperatures which average between 80°- 90° during the summer months and 20°- 30° during winter, it seems odd that there has never been a codified law about leaving an animal in a hot or freezing cold car. There is also no current law allowing for a Good Samaritan to remove a pet from a hot car either. The new ordinance will change that.
Many people may not realize that heatstroke is not only imminently dangerous for dogs, but it can have longer-lasting medical issues for the pet. Heatstroke requires hospitalization and can require blood or plasma transfusions to save the animal’s life.

As with other jurisdictions that have codified this ordinance, it is an act of animal cruelty or endangerment to leave an animal locked in an unattended vehicle in conditions that a reasonable person would believe would endanger the health, safety, or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold or lack of adequate ventilation. In order for immunity under this law, the potential Good Samaritan must have good faith and reasonable belief that an animal is in imminent danger of suffering great bodily harm or death. They must determine the vehicle is locked and there is no other reasonable method for the animal to be removed from the vehicle, and they must contact law enforcement or call 911 PRIOR to forcibly entering the vehicle. They must also stay with the animal in a safe location within a reasonable distance to the vehicle until either an authorized officer or emergency responder arrives and must surrender the animal immediately.

Return-To-Field Cats

Surprisingly, the practice of “trap, neuter, release” (TNR) or “return-to-field” for feral cats was considered to be controversial in the city of Boise. As many know, vermin are everywhere, even in the cities, and feral cat colonies help keep them at bay. TNR is practiced all over the country with dedicated people watching over the colonies. They ensure there is shelter and food then trap, neuter, and return the cats to prevent overpopulation. Previously, Boise euthanized about 40% of their feral cats, and since the city adopted the TNR practice, the number is down to about 6%. The loudest objection to the practice came from the Golden Eagle Audubon Society. Their concern was because of the impact cats can have on the environment due to the number of birds they believe feral cats kill each year. Their suggestion was to keep the cats inside, obviously not understanding that feral cats are in fact feral. They are not tamed pets who love the indoors.

Banning the Retail Sale of Professionally Bred Dogs and Cats

It should come as no surprise that Boise has bowed to the pressure from the Idaho Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Boise has prohibited the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in retail pet stores. However, it is perfectly acceptable to purchase animals from an “animal care and control agency, animal care facility, animal shelter, or non-profit rescue that does not breed dogs or cats, or obtain dogs or cats from a person who breeds or resells such animals for payment or compensations.”

This is supposedly to prevent “inhumane breeders,” one of the many labels the HSUS and other animal extremist groups apply to anyone who provides purpose-bred animals as pets. When it comes to slandering breeders, these groups are equal opportunity. They apply ugly and untrue terms to breeders whether they have a few litters per year or if they have a larger operation with a USDA license and comply with stringent Animal Welfare Act regulations.
This ban also prevents the small, hobby-type breeder from selling their purebred and purpose-bred animals via a retail store. As we have mentioned in our “We Must Stand United- Dog Breeding” article, large professional breeders supply dogs to the military, police departments, and research facilities. They are subject to unannounced inspections, stringent regulations and are cited for noncompliance. Professional breeders work diligently to better their specific breeds by breeding only the best to the best. Making selections regarding temperaments of the animals are also an important part of the process. Professional breeders and those who specialize in providing puppies to the public have sales contracts that include buy-back clauses, health guarantees, and if allowed to sell their puppies in a store, will have proper veterinary records.

Requiring owners to only purchase shelter or rescue pets from retail stores is another attempt to end the practice of professional breeding. If it is a shelter animal, and sold in a retail pet store, how is that different than purchasing a dog from a breeder in a retail store?

It is ironic that it is acceptable to purchase a dog of unknown breeding, with unknown genetic issues, unknown temperament and unknown prior history, from a retail store, yet a professionally, well-bred dog can’t be purchased unless it is a direct sale from breeder to new owner.

Shelter animals don’t usually offer much more than current vaccines and that the animal is neutered. There is no guarantee of temperament, testing of genetic defects, or even of who the parents are.
Since many owners want puppies, where do those come from? Many unscrupulous rescues claim they are rescuing dogs from foreign meat markets, but they are in fact, purchasing them from overseas breeders where there are no animal welfare protections for the dogs. This results in the importation of many sick animals with improper or forged veterinary records and incomplete vaccination records. We have seen strains of canine influenza that have never been found in the U.S. come into the country with these dogs; as well as parvo, rabies, and parasitic infections not found here.

Prohibiting Exotic Animals from Being Displayed or Used in a Circus or Animal Act Show

Boise has prohibited the owning of large cats, nonhuman primates, all canids except domesticated dogs, insectivores (except hedgehogs), rodents (except domesticated rats, mice, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils), all endangered or threatened animals, and many other wild animals, within the city limits. The exception to this is any bona fide, licensed zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Incidentally, the AZA is friendly with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and has buddied up to Ex HSUS CEO and animal extremist, Wayne Pacelle. The other exceptions are licensed veterinary hospitals for treatment of illness or injury by veterinarians, licensed educational or medical institutions accredited by Idaho Department of Education, rehabilitators permitted by Idaho Fish and Game, the keeping of raptors by individuals permitted by Idaho Fish and Game, and those animals permitted by Idaho Department of Agriculture.
Boise has held circuses in past years, some benefitting the Shriners’ Children’s Hospital, and this new ordinance will ban those performances unless they no longer have animal acts. Boise’s Zoo is also exempt under the new ordinance, but for how long?

Non-commercial Kennel License

The ordinance language makes it unlawful to “keep, maintain, harbor or possess upon the premises of any one household more than four (4) dogs, or five (5) cats, or any combination of four (4) such animals, unless the owner or person in charge first procures a noncommercial kennel license.” This is NOT a breeders’ license; it applies to the average pet owner. Even with the license, the maximum number of animals allowed is ten.
All animal owners must have proof that each animal they own is spayed or neutered. The only way around that is to obtain a special license for an unneutered animal (license fee is higher). The new ordinance language gives owners a choice between going door to door to get permission from their nearby neighbors or have the city mail postcards to those within 100 feet.
Not only does one have to procure the license, the application for the license must be accompanied by “the written consent to such noncommercial kennel of at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the persons in possession of premises within a radius of one hundred feet (100’) of the premises upon which the noncommercial kennel is to be maintained.”

Right to Inspection at Any “Reasonable” Time

The new language of the ordinance also allows the City Clerk, or designee, to inspect the premises of the noncommercial kennel. It allows them the “right to enter all such facilities at any reasonable time for the purpose of making necessary investigations and inspections, and shall be charged with the responsibility of enforcing and administering the provisions of this section.”
The license mandates that owners allow the city clerk or designee to “enter the premises for the purpose of investigation or inspection.” The language mandating the inspection is ambiguous stating “the City Clerk shall inspect or cause to be inspected, every noncommercial kennel facility for which licenses under this chapter have been issued as often as it may be necessary for the adequate control and supervision of such facilities.” What, exactly, does this mean? What happens when you have an overzealous city clerk or designee?

Restrictive Regulations are Not Synonymous with Animal Welfare

Animal welfare should always be the major concern, and having a Good Samaritan “hot car” law as well as dealing with feral cat colonies are definitely positive sections of the ordinance. No one wants an animal to suffer in a hot car, nor do we want an overpopulation of feral cats due to uncontrolled breeding.
However, requiring a noncommercial kennel license for an owner of 4 animals, mandating those owners of 4 animals be subject to inspection, and requiring permission from neighbors is clearly overregulation and a violation of personal property rights.

Overregulation only affects those who follow the law. Law-abiding citizens are losing their rights with this ordinance by requiring them to submit to searching their premises. Unscrupulous people will always find a way to break the law whether it is by selling sick puppies to an unsuspecting person or selling black-market-controlled substances.
The ambiguity and overreach of the new ordinance language is the animal extremist groups’ best friend as they will pounce on it and begin whittling away until it is either too expensive or too restrictive to own a pet.

If you are a resident of Boise and have concerns about this ordinance, please make sure your representatives know about it.

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