3-06 Animal Control Code

3-06.01 Introductory Provisions

3-06.01-10 Purpose

In order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents an citizens of Vernonia, Oregon, and to provide for control and the protection of dogs therein, the City of Vernonia does hereby enact the following provisions which may be referred to as the “Dog Control Code.”

3-06.01-20 Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise:

  • A. “Dog” means any mammal of the canine family.
  • B. “Dog License” means that license required to be issued annually for each individual dog pursuant to the provisions of this chapter;
  • C. “Dangerous Dog” means any dog that has, due to the lack of the exercise of proper and adequate supervision and control by its owner, demonstrated a propensity to do an act harmful in its character, to human beings or animals, regardless of whether done in a playful or hostile manner.
  • D. “Vicious Dog” means any dog that has, due to its size, nature or other characteristics, demonstrated a disposition or propensity to do an unreasonable act harmful in its character to human beings or animals, done in a hostile manner.
  • E. “Owner” means a person having a possessory property right in a dog or who harbors, cares for, exercises control over, or knowingly permits a dog to remain on premises occupied by him or her.
  • F. “Person” means an individual, a partnership, company, association, corporation, or any other legal entity.
  • G. “Pet Shop” means any person regularly engaged in the business of breeding, buying or selling animals of any species.
  • H. “Dog Running at Large” means a dog not confined to the premises of its owner unless restrained by a leash, tether, or other physical control devices, not to exceed eight (8) feet in length, and under the physical control of a person, whether or not the owner of the dog; or a dog which enters upon land of another person without authorization of that person or lawful occupant.
  • I. “Kennel” mans the operation of any business or the participation in any activity in which four (4) or more dogs are kept on the premises.

3-06.02 Regulatory Provisions

3-06.02-10 Responsibility and Authority

The powers and duties of the Vernonia Police Department in connection with this chapter shall be as follows:

  • A. To have police power in the enforcement of all provisions of this chapter relating to the control of dogs and the citation of persons for violation of this chapter.
  • B. To transfer impounded dogs to Columbia County authorities as soon after impoundment as possible.
  • C. To investigate reports of “prohibited activities’ as defined under 3-06.02-20(#prohibited-activities).

3-06.02-20 Prohibited Activities

  • A. It shall be unlawful for any person:
    • 1. To interfere with, hinder, molest or verbally abuse a Vernonia Police Officer while in the exercise of his or her duties:
    • 2. To be the owner of a dog which he or she fails to prevent from running at large:
    • 3. To be the owner of a dangerous or vicious dog:
    • 4. To be the owner of a dog which he or she fails to prevent from being a public nuisance by:
      • a. Molesting passersby;
      • b. Biting a person or animal(s);
      • c. Habitually chasing vehicles or persons;
      • d. Habitually attacking other animals;
      • e. Traveling upon school grounds, public parks, public game refuges and public watershed areas;
      • f. Damaging or destroying property of persons other than the owner of the dog;
      • g. Scattering garbage;
      • h. Habitually running at large;
      • i. Disturbing the peace, comfort, health or repose of any person of reasonable sensitivity by making loud, long, unnecessary and continuous noises; or
      • j. Not being on a leash or being on a leash which exceeds 8 feet in length;
    • 5. To be the owner of a dog affected with a contagious disease who runs at large or is exposed in any public place whereby the health of man or beast may be affected, except that such dog may be removed from the premises of the owner or other person by a veterinarian, Vernonia Police officer or by any person supervised by the Department of Health of Columbia County;
    • 6. To be the owner of any dog for which he or she has failed to procure a dog license;
    • 7. To be the owner of any dog for which he or she has failed to display a dog license upon such dog when it is off the owner’s property when required by Columbia County Animal control;
    • 8. To knowingly or negligently commit acts of cruelty to animals. General acts of cruelty include but are not limited to:
      • a. To subject any animal under a person’s ownership, custody or control to cruel mistreatment;
      • b. To subject any animal under a person’s ownership, custody or control to cruel neglect; or
      • c. To kill without legal privilege any animal under the ownership, custody or control of another person.
    • 9. To permit a dog to trespass upon the property of another.
    • 10. To permit a dog in season (estrus) to be accessible to a male dog not in his ownership except for intentional breeding purposes.
    • 11. To leave an animal unattended for more than twenty-four (24) consecutive hours without adequate care.

3-06.02-30 Licensing of Dogs

Any person owning or keeping any dog which has a set of permanent canine teeth or is six (6) months old, whichever comes first, shall obtain a license through Columbia County. Dogs found within the City of Vernonia without a license or with an expired license shall be apprehended and transferred to Columbia County Dog Control personnel.

3-06.02-40 Impoundment and Disposition of Impounded Dogs

  • A. The City of Vernonia shall not maintain an impoundment facility. Instead, all dogs taken into custody for violation of this chapter by Columbia County Animal Control personnel as soon as practicable.
  • B. Whenever any dog is found performing any of the activities enumerated in 3-06.02-20(#prohibited-activities), or has bitten any person or animal, it shall be subject to impoundment.
  • C. Unless a dog is redeemed by his owner within the number of days specified by Columbia County Dog Control personnel, the dog may be destroyed or sold. If such dog has been impounded because of biting a person, Columbia County Dog Control personnel may require vaccination or proof thereof prior to release.
  • D. Once possession of the subject animal has been transferred to Columbia County Dog Control personnel all future correspondence relating to the animal should be with that department. The policies and procedure of that department will govern release, sale or adoption, or destruction of the animal.


3-06.02-60 State Law

In addition to provisions of this chapter, the following statutes shall apply in the City of Vernonia and shall be enforced by the City of Vernonia Police Department in the same manner as though set forth fully herein, and by this reference are incorporated within this chapter:

  • A. ORS 433.340 to 433.390, relating to rabies control(https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/433.340);
  • B. ORS Chapter 609 Dogs: Exotic Animals: Dealers(https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/chapter/609)

3-06.02-70 Lost Dogs

Any person who finds and harbors a dog, without knowing the dog’s owner’s identity, shall notify the Vernonia Police Department and furnish a description of the dog. The finder may surrender the animal to the Vernonia Police Department or retain possession of it subject to surrender on demand by the Vernonia Police Department.

3-06.02-80 Animal Waste Removal

Any person in physical possession and control of any animal in a public place shall remove excrement or other solid waste deposited by the animal in a public area not designed to receive such waste, including by not limited to, streets, sidewalks, parking strips and public parks.

3-06.02-90 Penalties

  • A. Violation of a provision of this chapter, is punishable by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100.00).
  • B. Each day any person is in violation of this chapter shall be deemed a separate offense.
  • C. In addition to any penalty imposed as provided by 3-06.02-90.A a court may order the impoundment and destruction of any dog found to be dangerous.
  • D. A person who has been convicted of a violation of this chapter and who is found by a court to have been formally convicted of any violation of this chapter within two (2) years preceding the date of the alleged violation may be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200.00).

3-06.03 Livestock and Domesticated Fowl

3-06.03-10 Definitions

“Animal” means any living vertebrate creature, reptile or bird, except human or unless otherwise expressly excepted.

“At large” means any animal that falls under this chapter found off the premises or outside of the vehicle of the owner or custodian of the animal, and not under control of a person by means of a leash.

“Bovine animal” includes cows and other cattle.

“Poultry” means domestic fowl normally raised for meat, eggs and/or other purposes, and specifically includes, without limitation, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and guinea hens.

“Inhumane treatment” means any act, omission or neglect whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering is caused or permitted.

“Miniature livestock” means livestock of a dwarfed variety, or species bred so as to be a smaller version than its standard livestock counterpart. Including miniature; cows, horses, ponies, sheep, Vietnamese Potbellied pigs under 95 lbs., and pygmy goats.

“Rabbit” Any of various long-eared, short-tailed, burrowing mammals of the family Leporidae, such as the commonly domesticated species Oryctolagus cuniculu.

“Standard livestock” “barnyard animal” means any horses, bulls, cows, calves, heifers, goats, sheep, donkeys, llamas, or other animal stock, as further defined in this section.

“Owner,” “ownership” or “custodian” includes or refers to any person, firm, corporation, partnership or cooperative owning, having custody or possession of any animal and any such natural or artificial person who keeps, harbors, feeds or allows an animal to remain on their property for longer than five days.

3-06.03-20 Prohibited Animals

  • A. It is unlawful to have or keep within the City limits of Vernonia any live pigs or swine.
  • B. Notwithstanding the above, the having or keeping of swine commonly referred to as Miniature Vietnamese, Chinese or Oriental pot-bellied pigs (sus scrofa vittatus) is allowed subject to the following:
  • 1. Any pig or swine shall be considered to fall within these exceptions if its maximum height is no greater than 18 inches at the shoulder and it weighs no more than 95 pounds.
  • 2. No more than three Miniature Vietnamese, Chinese or Oriental pot-bellied pigs shall be kept at any one address for any period.

3-06.03-30 Provisions

  • A. Required Open Space and Minimum Dimensional Requirements for Pasturing.
Livestock CategoriesMaximum Number of Livestock Allowed on Single Family Residential Property
Poultry25 sq. ft. per bird
Livestock10,000 sq. ft. of open space for maintaining and pasturing 1st animal, additional 5,000 sq. ft. for each additional animal
5000 sq. ft.5,001-10,000 sq. ft.10,000 sq. ft. to 1 acreOver 1 acre or larger in area
Poultry45-6Not to exceed 9; more than maximum by permit only
RabbitNot to exceed 5 adultsNot to exceed 12 adults
Miniature Livestock3Not to exceed 3; more than maximum by permit only
Standard Livestock00Not to exceed 1
Emus, ostrich, peafowl, Miniature variety of horse, cow, pony, sheep, and llamasBy permit onlyNot to exceed 3; more than maximum by permit only
  • A. Continued
    • For standard livestock animals, there shall be not less than ten thousand (10,000) square feet of open space for maintaining and pasturing the first animal on any parcel of property, and an additional five thousand (5,000) square feet shall be required for each additional standard livestock animal.

    • For poultry, there shall be not less than twenty-five (25) square feet for each fowl.

    • In addition, the following minimum dimensional requirements for open space and pasturing purposes shall be provided:

    • 1. The stable, coup, or other shelter housing the livestock animals or domesticated fowl shall be set back at least fifteen (15) feet from any building used for human habitation, and ten (10) feet from any rear property line; no structures that shelter livestock or domesticated fowl shall be located in front of the main structure.
    • 2. In the event any livestock animal gives birth/hatched, thereby exceeding the number of livestock animals allowed by the minimum set forth in this subsection, the owner of said livestock animal and/or the occupier of the premises shall conform to the number of livestock animals for the dimensional requirements within six months following of the birth of the animal.
  • B. Number Permitted. No more than three livestock animals may be kept on any premises, without a special use permit. In the case of poultry, any number may be kept for non-commercial purposes insofar as the required space is provided for each fowl. Roosters shall be permitted within that number if secluded or confined within an area of the property where adjacent neighbors will not be unreasonably disturbed. Rooster removal is warranted by 2 separate complainants within a 6 month period. The maximum amount of poultry or rabbits shall constitute 1 miniature livestock.
  • C. Fencing. The owner and/or tenant and/or other occupier of the premises upon which any livestock animal is maintained for more than seven consecutive days within the city limits shall provide adequate fencing in a good state of repair to guarantee the confinement of said animal within the fence, fence shall completely enclose an area adhering to the minimal dimensional requirements.
  • D. Waste Disposal. The owner of each livestock animal and the owner and/or occupier of the premises upon which said animal is maintained within the city limits shall guarantee and at all times maintain the premises upon which the animal is maintained in a sanitary and neat condition, including, but not limited to, disposal of manure or other waste material from said animal. All slaughter waste must be appropriately disposed of by burial or garbage receptacle. An unreasonable accumulation of flies or other insects or pests within the property on which said animal is maintained, and/or noxious or offensive odors, or the unreasonable accumulation of flies, insects or other pests transcending or migrating into neighboring or vicinal real property, shall be presumed to be inadequate sanitary conditions. No more than one cubic yard of solid waste may be kept on the property at any one time and must be kept dry, and be located behind the front building plane of the residence and must be kept a minimum of 10 feet from all property lines.
  • E. Slaughtering. Slaughtering of any animal within the city, must take place out of view and hearing of the general public.

3-06.03-40 Other Animals

  • A. Bees. 1-4 Hives. Owners must notify all neighbors within 150 feet of the hive or proposed facility. Proposed hives must be a minimum of fifteen (15) feet away from “any public walkway, street, road, or any public building, park or recreational area, or any residential dwelling” owner’s dwelling excluded. Hives that are also less than 150 feet from any streets, parks, houses, etc. must be “protected by a six foot hedgerow, partition, fence or similar enclosure.” Two (2) hive will be allowed per every 5,000 sq. ft. of land. 5 or more Hives. Must follow the above restrictions, the owner must also register them with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
  • B. Exotic Animals. Exotic animals are prohibited except as provided in subsection (B) of this section.
  • C. Wild Animals. No person shall own any wild animal unless he or she has obtained a permit from the State Fish and Wildlife Department, Federal Fish and Wildlife Service or other appropriate governmental agency; provided, that the animal control authority may allow a person to temporarily care for an infant or injured wild animal native to this area which is homeless, while the person acquires the necessary state and/or federal permits.

3-06.03-50 Control and Confinement

  • A. All horses on public property after dark shall have a reflective device of some kind so that they are visible.
  • B. It is unlawful for any person or persons who are the owner or custodians of livestock to allow any of said animals to be at large within the town.
  • C. It is unlawful for any person to herd, drive, lead, ride or pasture any livestock upon any sidewalk within the town.
  • D. It is unlawful for any person or persons who are owners or custodians of livestock to damage property of another, including other animals.
  • E. It is unlawful to have possession or control of any animal that is sick or infected with an untreated infectious or contagious disease, or to permit any diseased or infected animal to run at large, or come in contact with other animals.
  • F. It is unlawful to permit any livestock to spread or spill garbage.
  • G. It is unlawful to tether an animal in such a manner as to permit the animal to enter any sidewalk, street, alley or to enter any adjacent lot or premises unless authorized by the occupant of the adjacent premises.

3-06.03-60 Shelter

  • A. Keeping of livestock and domesticated fowl is permitted, provided an adequate shelter is maintained for said animals. This regulation shall not be construed to permit the keeping of animals in any place or manner which will endanger public health and safety or interfere with the reasonable use and enjoyment of surrounding properties.
  • B. Livestock and domesticated fowl must be maintained in a neat, sanitary and orderly condition.
  • C. Shelters shall conform to the Uniform Building Codes as adopted by the City of Vernonia.
  • D. All livestock shall be kept only within buildings, pens or fences, each of which shall be sufficient in size and strength to resist the pressure from the animals within so as not to allow them to escape. A violation of this section is an infraction.
  • E. Protective Impoundment. The animal control officer is empowered to impound any animal found within any building, establishment or premises, whether public or private, in such condition as would be considered by a reasonably prudent person to be cruel to the animal, or any animal found seriously sick or injured.

3-06.03-70 Violation

  • A. Any person or entity convicted of the violation of this section 3-06.03 shall be fined $500.00 for each violation. For the purposes of enforcement of this section, each day of a violation shall constitute a separate violation.

3-06.03-80 Grandfather Clause

  • A. Animals possessed at the adoption of this amendment which are in violation with Section 3-06.03 may remain in owners possession for 6 months, at which time owner will be required to remove animals which violate Section 3-06.03(#provisions) from the premises.