By Staff Reports
(Hesperia) – On Wednesday, April 8, the Hesperia City Council Advisory Committee considered a staff-prepared item regarding animal keeping ordinances and nuisances from animals. Proposed revisions were prompted by a number of complaints by residents over a period of time. Common complaints include excessive dog barking, rooster crowing, number of animals on lots and animal odors. This meeting represents the beginning of a thorough process to consider common complaints and the potential benefits of revising animal keeping ordinances. After review of the information, the Committee provided direction to staff on potential changes. The next step in the process will involve the scheduling of a subsequent City Council Advisory Committee meeting to consider specific changes. This meeting will likely be scheduled in June and is open to the public.
As background, the Hesperia Municipal Code provides for animal keeping in various residential and agricultural zone districts. Generally, more animals are permitted on larger sized lots. Allowable animals can range from domestic pets to pasture and farm animals. The proposed revisions to the ordinance do not in any way propose that animals be prohibited. Should the ordinance be revised, the number of allowed animals may be reduced, but both domestic and pasture animals will still be allowed. In addition, it is important to note that, if changes are adopted by the City, existing residents lawfully owning animals that may not comply with new ordinances would be “grandfathered” and allowed to continue owning those existing animals. This means that existing residents and animals legally owned before adoption of a revised ordinance will continue to operate under the existing version of the ordinance. There is information being distributed to the public by individuals that mischaracterizes the Committee’s actions last Wednesday, suggesting that keeping of horses and other agricultural-related animals would be barred from the City.
This issue will be thoroughly vetted by the City Council Advisory Committee before it is presented to the City’s Planning Commission and Hesperia City Council for their consideration. When the item moves forward for consideration by the Planning Commission and City Council, a public hearing will be scheduled and noticed. Members of the public are welcome to attend these hearings and comment on and voice support or opposition to any proposed revision.