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Cleanup of animal control ordinance allows more pets, backyard burials in Lake Saint Louis

Lake Saint Louis now has an ordinance in place that allows residents one cat or dog more than its prior animal control ordinance did – and if a pet dies its final resting place now can be the homeowner’s backyard.

The city’s Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance 5-0 with Alderman Gary Turner [Ward 3] absent. The new ordinance cleans up an agreement with St. Charles County, which now provides animal control services to a number of county municipalities.

A few years ago, St. Charles County municipalities decided that providing their own animal control services had gotten very expensive. As a result, they entered into contracts with the county to provide that service. County already had an animal control staff and kennels for housing runaway or lost dogs and cats. City residents now call the county if their dog is missing or a stray is seen in the neighborhood.

The cities pay an annual fee for this service. But in agreeing to the service, cities have to agree to adopt the county’s ordinance, which sets animal control rules. As Lake Saint Louis residents and officials found out, some of the county’s rules are different than the rules the cities may have had or liked. So, at its Feb. 5 meeting, the Lake Saint Louis board repealed and replaced aspects of its previous animal control ordinance to match the county’s precepts.

Passage now allows Lake Saint Louis residents to do some things related to animals they couldn’t do before the county took over the service, such as a backyard burial when Fido passes away. Before the county took over animal control, burying pets in the backyard was frowned on, explained Lake Saint Louis City Administrator Paul Markworth.

“We had people concerned if they were allowed to bury pets in their backyard. If you’re living on a residential street and if you have a big dog and decide to bury it in your backyard you could have some big problems,” Markworth said. But the county’s ordinance allows pets to be buried on residential property, so now Lake Saint Louis residents can follow suit.

City residents also are legally allowed an additional pet. The city’s prior ordinance limited any combination of dogs, pets and other animals to three. The county’s ordinance allows four.

The county’s ordinance did allow electronic fences to confine animals to a yard or property, which the city’s old ordinance also allowed.

Changing to meet the county’s standard simply made economic sense, Markworth said. It would be too expensive for the city to set up its own animal control  because contracting out for kennel services and developing trained personnel to pick up and handle animals probably would be more than the $19,000 or so the city annually pays to the county for animal services.




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