Your OP about the cost to your local government made me very curious, so I talked to a couple friends that work for the county and in our area. If the horses were continually
getting out, it would be considered a public nuisance. Here is the applicable ordinance from our county... Sec. 4-45.
- Public nuisance.
It shall be unlawful for an owner or keeper to permit an animal to create a public nuisance, or to maintain a public nuisance created by an animal. Compliance shall be required as follows:
When an animal control officer or law enforcement officer observes a violation, the owner or keeper will be provided written notification of such violation and be given 24 hours or less to abate the nuisance.
Upon receipt of a written detailed and signed complaint alleging that any person is maintaining a public nuisance, the animal control director shall cause the owner or keeper of the animal in question to be
notified that a complaint has been received, and shall cause the situation complained upon to be investigated and a written report to be prepared.
If the written findings indicate that the complaint is justified, the animal control director shall cause the owner or keeper of the animal in question to be notified in writing, and shall order abatement of such nuisance within 24 hours or such lesser amount of time, which shall be designated on the abatement order.
If, after 24 hours or such lesser time as is designated in the abatement order, the nuisance is not abated, the animal creating the nuisance may be impounded or a civil penalty may be issued and/or a criminal summons may be issued.
(Ord. of 6-16-1987, § XV, eff. 1-1-1988; Ord. of 11-1-1995, eff. 1-1-1997) Sec. 4-48.
The following penalties shall pertain to violations of this article:
The violation of any provision of this article shall be a misdemeanor, and any person convicted of such violation shall be punishable as provided in G.S. 14-4, or other applicable law. Each day's violation of this article is a separate offense. Payment of a fine imposed in criminal proceedings pursuant to this subsection does not relieve a person of his liability for taxes, fees or civil penalties imposed under this article.
Enforcement of this article may include any appropriate equitable remedy, injunction or order of abatement issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to G.S. 153A-123(d), (e).
In addition to and independent of any criminal penalties and other sanctions provided in this article, a violation of this article may also subject the offender to the following civil penalties:
The animal control director may issue to the known owner or keeper of any animal, or to any other violator of the provisions of this article, a ticket or citation giving notice of the alleged violation(s) and of the civil penalty imposed. Tickets or citations so issued may be delivered in person or mailed by first class mail to the person charged if that person cannot readily be found. The following civil penalties shall be assessed for each violation of this article:
Mistreatment of animals (section 4-45) $200.00
The civil penalty for a nuisance violation (section 4-45) shall be as follows: Number of Prior
ViolationsAmount 1$ 50.00 2 100.00 3 200.00 4 300.00 5 400.00
This civil penalty shall be paid to the animal control director or his or her designee within 14 days of receipt. This civil penalty is in addition to any other fees or costs or fines imposed that are authorized by this article.
If the applicable civil penalty is not paid within the time period prescribed, a civil action may be commenced to recover the penalty and costs associated with collection of the penalty, and/or a criminal summons may be issued against the owner or keeper or other alleged violator of this article; and upon conviction, the owner shall be punished as provided by state law. Failure on the part of the owner or keeper of an animal or other alleged violator to pay the applicable civil penalty within the time period prescribed is unlawful and a violation of this article. The civil penalty for violation of this subsection is $25.00 except where the original violation was for failure to vaccinate for rabies, in which case the civil penalty for violation of this subsection is $100.00.
(Ord. of 6-16-1987, § XXI, eff. 1-1-1988; Ord. of 3-1-1988, eff. 3-1-1988; Ord. of 11-1-1995, eff. 1-1-1997; Ord. of 12-3-2007)