City Council Revises Animal Ordinance, Debates 'Right of Entry'

Oak Forest aldermen approved several changes to the city's animal ordinance at the city council's Tuesday, March 12 meeting. Aldermen also held a lengthy discussion on the 'right of entry,' for city officers and officials looking to

Oak Forest aldermen broke out their red pens and took to the Oak Forest animal control ordinance to make several revisions during the council's regular meeting March 12.

The revisions, which were presented by Police Chief Greg Anderson, were:

  • adding the definition of a 'competent person,' 
  • increasing boarding fees from $10 to $20, 
  • the addition of pot-bellied pigs as domestic animals,
  • the addition of a motor vehicle provision to the cruelty to animals section,
  • the removal of duplicate language and changes to the 'right of entry' provision.

“I took the opportunity to go ahead and review the animal control ordinance and make some needed changes to it,” Anderson said. “It's certainly not a complete rewrite.”

The ordinance review came at the request of an alderman who has a resident living in their ward with a pot-bellied pig, Anderson said.

The ordinance revisions were passed after a lengthy exchange between aldermen about the wording of one specific change, which ultimately was deleted from the ordinance and will be revisited at a later date.

The wording, which deals with police and animal control officer's 'right of entry,' reads as follows:

“For the purpose of carrying out the provision of this chapter, a police officer, animal control officer or any other City official charged with enforcing this code, may enter upon private premises the purposes of investigating a complaint of either an actual or suspected violation, to determine compliance or noncompliance with this Ordinance or to apprehend an at-large animal, a dangerous animal, or an animal infected with rabies.”

The wording sparked a debate among aldermen as to if officers would be able to go into residents' homes to apprehend animals, something some aldermen thought was unnecessary.

“I think this is a bad idea putting this in the ordinance at this time,” Ald. Chuck Toland said.

Toland's opinion was echoed by Ald. Dan Ensing and Rich Simon, who both were opposed to giving officers such power.

Despite the concerns, Anderson said that it would take emergency circumstances to allow a officer to enter a home and that it was meant to allow officers to enter a yard, but not a home.

“This does not allow an animal control officer, a police officer or anybody else with the city, to go in and look for anything without the resident's permission,” he said. “This would not give us the authority to do that in any way, shape or form.”

Although Anderson and Ald. Peter Muscarella voiced their disapproval for removing the wording from the ordinance, the passage was removed from the final, approved ordinance and will be revisited at a later date.

It's easy to keep up with Patch!

Darnell March 13, 2013 at 01:25 PM
The entire 4th amendment it pretty cut and dry people. This means back yards also!! HELLLLOOOO!!! The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated Amendment IV Search and arrest The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
phxdr March 13, 2013 at 02:56 PM
I think Toland, Ensing and Simon were right in their concerns about this. The line between what is constitutional with local, state and federal authorities doing their jobs is becomming more and more blurred and it has to stop. There are a number of instances from the president being allowed to hold American citizens indefinitely with NDAA at the federal level (shot down by the judicial branch) to historic overlays put on private properties at the local level without the owner's consent. The simple point with my examples and the above oak forest article is a loss of our freedom, liberty and law enforcement-government(s) who do not respect the people.
Tired of the B.S. March 13, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Trying to chip away at our rights has become commonplace in our government. This is a perfect example of how the government tries to do it. Thanks to the aldermen that remembered what is written in our Constitution. Now, the next step should be to get rid of "roadside safety checkpoints" and the TSA.
Darnell March 13, 2013 at 07:56 PM
William Davies March 14, 2013 at 04:55 PM
That paragraph would have given a pretty wide birth for just about anyone from the city to enter your home without permission from you. It was a welcome change to actually hear a discussion by members of the city council instead of the usual yes vote up and down the line. Kuspa's way of doing business does not include open discussion unless it makes him look good. Anderson must still be busy looking for another job because he did not appear to have researched that provision very well. Thank you Aldermen Toland, Ensing, and Simon for standing up for the citizens of Oak Forest.
Mike Fangman March 14, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Keyword: "UNREASONABLE". Ever heard of probable cause?
Tired of the B.S. March 14, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Mike F. Yes, I have heard of probable cause. That is the phrase that the police use when they don't have a reason to do whatever they are trying to do. You are not very well informed, as proven by your post where you think that implied consent gives the police the "right" to pull you over in your car just because you are driving on a public road.


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