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Published July 11 2010

North Dakota political notebook: Reader wants info about pet laws


As a new resident of North Dakota (less than a month), I wonder why there is not a law requiring the dog owner to pick up after their pet, especially in public parks, or be subject to a fine. Has such a requirement ever been brought up in the past?

Chuck Krulis

Grand Forks, N.D.


Thanks for writing! There is a law in Grand Forks City Code related to your topic:

11-0125. Failure to remove dog or cat feces without delay.

“It shall be unlawful for any dog or cat owner or person in possession of any dog or cat to fail to remove without delay any feces left by such cat or dog on any public street, sidewalk, other public areas, or the private property of another within the corporate limits of the City of Grand Forks.”

Kevin Dean, a spokesman for the city, sums it up this way:

“That means my dog or cat can’t poop on any public areas without me picking it up, and it can’t poop on my neighbor’s yard without me picking up. If they do, and I don’t, I can be taken to court.”

City code states anyone violating the law can be punished with up to a $1,000 fine per incident.

Marilyn Johnson with the Legislative Council did not find any specific state law on the matter. North Dakota Century Code allows counties and cities to regulate pets.

“This appears to be the province of local governments,” she said.

Do you have a question for a state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail politics@wday.com (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman, c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, ND 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

Free vaccines available

The North Dakota Department of Health is supplying tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines to health care providers at no cost for adolescents and adults, according to a news release.

The vaccines will be provided for free for a limited time to local public health units and private health care providers enrolled in the department’s immunization program. Health care providers may charge a small fee to administer the vaccine.

Many states are experiencing outbreaks of pertussis, the department said. North Dakota experienced an outbreak in 2004, when there were 757 cases. So far in 2010, 19 cases of pertussis have been reported.

Most adolescents and adults in the state are not protected against pertussis, said Molly Sander, immunization program manager.

People interested in being vaccinated or wondering if they are up-to-date on their vaccinations should contact their local public health unit or health care provider.

Silrum to head board

North Dakota Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum was selected chairman of the Standards Board of the United States Election Assistance Commission.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger said it’s a significant honor for the state that Silrum was chosen. The responsibilities of the Standards Board are essential for the administration of elections nationwide, he said.

The next meeting of the board is July 27 in Washington, D.C.

Drinking water report

Information about North Dakota’s public water systems is available in the 2009 Drinking Water Compliance Report.

North Dakota public water systems maintain an excellent Safe Drinking Water compliance record, according to a news release from the Health Department. Any violations are included in the report.

“It’s important to understand that the majority of violations referred to in the 2009 report have been resolved,” Larry Thelen, administrator of the Drinking Water Program, said in a statement. “It is a significant challenge for public water systems and states to meet the ever-increasing number of requirements.”

To obtain a copy of the report, write to the North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Municipal Facilities, 918 E. Divide Ave., 3rd Floor, Bismarck, ND 58501-1947, or call (701) 328-5211.

A summary of the report can be viewed at www.ndhealth.gov/mf.

ND cancer registry

The state Department of Health’s Statewide Cancer Registry has received the Gold Standard Certification award for the sixth consecutive year from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

The association has established gold- and silver-standard criteria to recognize population-based cancer registries that achieve excellence in completeness of information, data accuracy and timeliness of data submissions.

Registry certification ensures North Dakota’s data will be available for publication and national research studies.

Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.