Spokane’s new urban farming ordinance that allows for the keeping of small farm animals is likely to cost the city extra money for animal control services.
The director of the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service has outlined a series of charges for the extra work of answering farm animal welfare calls and noise and odor complaints involving goats, sheep, small pigs or fowl.
Among the charges would be an estimated $4,000 to $6,000 for a two-horse trailer that would be used to pick up any distressed or troubled farm animals.
The Spokane City Council approved an ordinance in March allowing small livestock, including chickens and ducks, on urban residential lots. A companion ordinance is allowing unlicensed produce stands in residential areas.
Council President Ben Stuckart said he has no problem paying a little extra to make sure that the small farm animals don’t get out of hand.
“That’s a small price to pay for food security,” he said.
SCRAPS Director Nancy Hill has outlined potential charges in a proposed agreement for urban farm enforcement. The agreement would need City Council and County Commission approval.
She estimated that calls will cost $100 every two hours and $175 for after-hours service.
An impoundment would cost $250 for a truck and trailer with driver. Boarding animals is pegged at $20 a day.
Hill is also recommending the purchase of six hog pens at $156.
Training for her staff to handle livestock is pegged at $500.
“If they need that in order to do their job, I’m not going to throw a fit,” Stuckart said.
Hill said the urban farm animal services were not included in an agreement between Spokane and Spokane County for more traditional animal control involving mainly dogs and cats.
Hill said city code enforcement officers can handle some of the complaints, but animal welfare work and noise complaints will be turned over to SCRAPS officers.
Noise complaints involving farm animals will be handled in much the same way as barking dog complaints. Officers will work with owners to resolve the problem prior to a citation, she said.
Stuckart said other cities with urban farm programs have reported few problems from the animals.
People wanting to keep goats, sheep or small pigs in the city have to be certified through a class by Washington State University’s Spokane County Extension service. The initial classes were reportedly filled.
Spokane, Spokane Valley and other cities in the county have joined together to provide countywide animal control housed in a retail facility at 6815 E. Trent Ave. that was renovated into a shelter with offices and enforcement and adoption services.