Planning commission reconsiders Smithfield animal laws

SMITHFIELD—Kris Monson, a city councilwoman for 10 years, stood before the Planning Commission Wednesday night to propose modifications to Smithfield’s animal rights ordinances. “I’m just going to propose an idea,” Monson said. “If you don’t like this, I’m not going to work very hard.” Monson’s presentation was an introduction of her ideas to assess the support she could expect during the course of her pursuits. “If you have the right size property, you should be able to apply for and receive an animal rights permit from year to year,” Monson said. Commission Chairman Rick Vernon disagreed. Due to ordinances passed in 1972, property owners are only permitted animal rights according to specific zoning regulations. As long as one’s property has been occupied by a certain species continuously since 1972, the animal rights permit is active and legal. In the event of a temporary absence of that species, the property owner’s permit is permanently suspended. Proof of the animal’s existence and habitation of the property is required if the permit is ever challenged, and permits are specific to species. Property owners who purchased land after 1972 cannot obtain animal rights permits without proof of continual animal occupancy from former owners.

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