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Animal Control

police officer and dog posing

The Wentzville Police Department has two, full-time Animal Control Officers: Mimi Mahoney and Alexis Yost. 

To report complaints of animals at large, dog bites, barking dogs, vicious animals or any other domesticated animal complaints or questions, contact the Wentzville Police Department’s Communications Division at (636) 327-5105. For issues that are non-emergency related or not in progress, an email may also be sent to AnimalControl@wentzvillemo.gov, as the email is only checked when the Animal Control Officers are on duty.

FAQs

Are Electric Fences Allowed in Wentzville?
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Yes, per City Ordinance 205.545.A.d. electronic fences are acceptable with restrictions. 

Section 205.545A.d. Running At Large 

In a backyard area of a residence that is controlled by a properly identified and operating Electronic Fence, provided that the owner or controlling party has had no prior documented incidents of an animal running at large under this Section, a nuisance under Section 205.550.A.3, failure to control under Section 205.555, or a dangerous animal under Section 205.560 (a “Documented Incident”). If an owner or controlling party currently has a prior Documented Incident on file with Wentzville or other animal control organization, or if subsequent to the effective date of this ordinance the owner or controlling party is the subject of a Documented Incident, then the owner shall no longer be permitted to utilize standing alone, an Electronic Fence in any portion of a premises regardless of whether it was the same animal that was the subject of the prior Documented Incident or whether the person then-resided, resides now, or will reside within the City. 

Section 205.020 Definitions 

Fence, Electronic: An electronic, radio wave, underground or “invisible” fencing, that, when used in conjunction with a collar properly affixed to the animal, sends a warning to the animal that is approaching the boundaries of the area within which is contained. At no time shall an Electronic Fence be utilized as a stand-alone animal control method for an area in the front or side of a residence although such fences may be utilized in a back yard under certain circumstances outlined in Section 205.545. Any time an Electronic Fence is utilized the owner or controlling party shall be responsible to ensure that: (1) a sign is displayed informing that the animal is being contained by an electronic fence with such sign being clearly visible from all approachable avenues to the property; and (2) the animal sought to be contained shall have its collar properly secured in a place and calibrated and the Electronic Fence shall be activated and in proper working condition.

Are Pit Bulls Illegal in Wentzville?
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No, per City Ordinance, there are no breed specific restrictions for canines within the City Limits of Wentzville.

How Many Domesticated Animals May I Own?
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Per City Ordinance 205.230, if you are not licensed to operate a kennel, you may only own three (3) dogs, four (4) cats, or four (4) other domestic animals or a combination not to exceed ten (10). 

If you are wishing to obtain a permit for a noncommercial kennel or cattery, review the full ordinance below and then click on the green application link and complete and submit the form. Those wishing to obtain a permit, will have an initial inspection of their facility upon submission of the application and payment. Additional inspections may be conducted throughout the year, as needed, as outlined in Section 2, subsection B. in the below ordinance.

The full ordinance reads:

Sec. 205.230. – Number of animals limited.

(1) It is unlawful for any owner or controlling party who is not running a licensed kennel to possess more than three dogs or four cats or four other domestic animals over the age of six months that are legal to be possessed in the city. The total number of domestic animals over the age of six months allowed to be owned, controlled or residing upon a given contiguous property shall not exceed ten. This section shall apply to farm animals.

(2) Noncommercial kennel or cattery. No person shall maintain a noncommercial kennel or cattery within the City without a license therefore. Applications for said license shall be submitted to the Chief of Police or his/her designee who will be responsible for an investigation of the applicant’s proposed activities, the facilities available, and the potential for negative neighborhood impact. The Chief of Police or his/her designee will grant licenses to approved applicants for the period of one calendar year upon payment of an annual fee.     A. Noncommercial kennels or catteries shall pay an annual fee of $10. The number of dogs or cats to be kept in any noncommercial kennel or cattery shall not exceed five. License applications may be denied by the Chief of Police or his/her designee if historical records indicate a failure of the applicant to provide adequate and/or humane facilities, if animals or premises are deemed to be a nuisance, or the applicant has failed to comply with other provisions of this code in the past one year or until the number of animals is reduced naturally through attrition to three dogs or four cats. After which time the licensee shall maintain no more than three dogs or four cats. Noncommercial kennel or cattery licenses shall only be allowed under the following circumstances:

  1. An applicant moves to the city from a jurisdiction that allows more than three dogs or four cats per residence, or
  2. An applicant has a relative or family member take up residence and brings existing animals which increase the number to greater than three dogs or four cats, or
  3. An applicant has an immediate family member who has become infirmed and in need of placement of existing animals whose addition increases the number to greater than three dogs or four cats, or
  4. An applicant has an immediate family member who has received a military assignment and in need of placement of existing animals whose addition increases the number to greater than three dogs or four cats.

     B. The facilities maintained by license holders under this section shall be inspected at any reasonable time, one time each year, or more often as may be necessary to ensure compliance with this code. Licenses may be revoked or suspended by the Chief of Police or his/her designee for failure of licensee to provide adequate and/or humane facilities, or if animals or premises are deemed to be a nuisance.

(3) In the event of a weather or other emergency within the City, the Mayor may declare a temporary state of emergency under which the limits on the number of animals imposed under this section shall be modified to allow an owner or controlling person who is not running a licensed kennel to possess on a temporary basis the aggregate number of up to ten dogs, cats or other domestic animals over the age of six months that are legal to be possessed in the city. The total number of domestic animals over the age of six months allowed to be owned, controlled or residing upon a given contiguous property shall still not exceed ten. Such a state of emergency under which the limits imposed by subsection (1) of this section are modified shall not last longer than thirty (30) days unless approved by the board of aldermen.

Is There a Leash Law in Wentzville?
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Yes. The City of Wentzville requires animals to be on a leash through the animal at large ordinance (205.545). If your animal is caught running at large, Animal Control will make every attempt to return the animal to the rightful owner.

To help identify your animal and avoid the costs and hassles of having to retrieve your animal from the pound, it is requested, but not required, to purchase an animal tag with the name of your pet and your phone number, to make it easier for us to identify the owner of the animal.

If no owner is located or if we are unable to return the animal, the animal will be taken to the animal shelter.

Summons may also be written to the owners of the animals at large, and there will also be an additional fee for impounding the animal.

Section 205.020: Definition 

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this Chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this Section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning: 

At Large:  When an animal is on any street, alley, or any other public place in the City and is not attached to a leash, the other end of which is securely held by a competent person, or when such animal is on private property within the City and either not attached to a leash, the other end of which is securely held by a competent person, or not so confined by a fence as to prevent its straying from the premises.  An animal which shall remain in an adequate enclosure on the property of its owner without leash or other confinement shall not be deemed to be running at large within the meaning of this definition. 

Section 205.545:   Running At Large

It shall be unlawful for any owner or controlling party to permit any animal to run at large. 

A.   Owners or controlling parties are accountable for proper containment of animals.  Any owner or controlling party shall be in violation of this Section if any animal(s) within their ownership, control or custody is not:

      1.   Attached to a leash that is held by a competent person, even if within the boundaries of a properly signed electronic, radio wave, under ground or “invisible fence” in a front or side yard of a residence OR

      2.   In an area that has a properly installed physical fence OR

      3.   Properly tethered in accordance with Section 205.530 of this ordinance; OR

      4.   In a backyard area of a residence that is controlled by a properly identified and operating Electronic Fence, provided that the owner or controlling party has had no prior documented incidents of an animal running at large under this Section, a nuisance under Section 205.550.A.3, failure to control under Section 205.555, or a dangerous animal under Section 205.560 (a “Documented Incident”).  If an owner or controlling party currently has a prior Documented Incident on file with Wentzville or other animal control organization, or if subsequent to the effective date of this ordinance the owner or controlling party is the subject of a Documented Incident, then the owner shall no longer be permitted to utilize standing alone, an Electronic Fence in any portion of a premises regardless of whether it was the same animal that as the subject of the prior Documented Incident or whether the person then-resided, resides now, or will reside within the City.

B.   Animals found running at large will be collected by an Animal Control Officer and

      1.   If the owner is known, the animal may be returned to the owner and enforcement action taken at the discretion of the animal control officer, OR

      2.   Impoundment of the animal to the City Animal Shelter. 

C.   Animals found running at large that are dangerous, vicious or ferocious or display qualities of dangerous, vicious or ferocious shall be handled as set forth in Section 205.060.B. 

D.   Any person(s) found guilty of animal at large by the Municipal Judge of Wentzville shall be fined penalties according at the following schedule range at his/her discretion:

      1.   A first (1st) offense shall be punishable by a fine of not less than fifty ($50.00) dollars, but no more than two hundred ($200.00) dollars.

      2.    A second (2nd) offense by a person, regardless of whether or not the same animal is involved, shall be punishable by a fine not less than two hundred one dollars ($201.00) but no more than three hundred and fifty ($350.00) dollars.

      3.   A third (3rd) offense by a person, regardless of whether or not the same animal is involved shall be punishable by a fine not less than three hundred fifty $350.00) dollars up to five hundred $500.00). 

      4.   A fourth (4th) any any subsequent offenses, regardless of whether or not the same animal is involved, will be punishable by a five hundred ($500.00) dollar fine. 

E.   If an animal was impounded as a result of an owner or controlling person allowing an animal to run at large, then all fees associated with impoundment payable to the City and City Animal shelter shall be paid in addition to any fines imposed by the court.

May My Animal be Tethered Outdoors?
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Yes, tethering is allowed, but with restrictions. 

Section 05.530: Tethering, Prohibited Conduct

A. It shall be unlawful for any owner or controlling party to: 

  1. Leave an animal tethered outdoors for eight (8) continuous hours or for a total of twelve (12) hours in a twenty-four (24) hour   period. 
  2. Tether an animal except by means of:    
    • A properly fitting harness or collar of nylon or leather construction which does not chafe or injure the animal, and 
    • A tether in proportion to the size of the animal such that its weight and construction do not burden or encumber the animal. The tether must be at least fifteen (15) feet in length with a swivel at both ends.
    • A tether’s length shall not allow the animal to move outside the bounds of the owner’s curtilage or have access to sidewalks or right of way’s that are accessible to pedestrian traffic. 
  3. Tether an animal in such a manner that the animal cannot access adequate shelter. 
  4. Tether an animal outdoors under conditions where the tether can become entangled on itself, the tethered animal, another animal or some other object or where the tether can restrict the animal’s access to suitable, edible and sufficient food, clean water (cool in summer an unfrozen in winter) and appropriate shelter.
  5. Tether an animal outdoors in unsafe or unsanitary conditions or when the tether does not allow the animal to defecate or urinate in an area separate from the areas where it must eat, drink or lie down. 
  6. Expose an animal to any weather conditions that cause imminent threat to the animal’s physical well-being. 
  7. No person shall tether an animal on a choke, prong or pinch collar or tow chain or in such a manner as to cause injury, strangulation or entanglement of the animal on fence, trees or other manmade or natural obstacles. 
  8. No person shall tether an animal in an area where bare earth is present and no steps have been taken to prevent the surface from becoming wet and muddy in the event of precipitation. 
  9. No person shall leave an animal tethered outside between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am, except temporarily tethering outdoors for a time period not exceeding fifteen (15) minutes.
  10. Animals may not be muzzled while on a tether or chain.
  11. For the purposes of this section, “tether” does not include the use of a leash to walk an animal. 

B. Violations of this section shall be punishable under the provisions set forth under 205.535 Animal Neglect or Abandonment.

Rabies Signs and Symptoms
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Once infection occurs, the rabies virus grows in muscle tissue and may go undetected for several days or months. During this incubation (or latent) period, the animal appears healthy and shows no sign of infection.

Usually within 1 to 3 months, the virus migrates to the nerves near the site of the infection and spreads to the spinal cord and brain (i.e., the central nervous system). It usually takes from 12 to 180 days to spread through the peripheral nerves to the central nervous system. At this point, the disease progresses rapidly, and the animal begins to show the classic behavioral signs of rabies. The virus spreads to the saliva, tears, breast milk, and urine. The animal usually dies in 4 or 5 days.

Rabies causes typical symptoms. The infection progresses in a predictable manner, from the initial prodormal phase to the excitative or furious phase to the final paralytic phase.

The first sign usually is a change in behavior. Pet owners should be aware that behavioral changes can occur as a result of many conditions, from digestive disorders to poisoning.

Rabid animals usually stop eating and drinking, and may appear to want to be left alone. After the initial onset of symptoms, the animal may become vicious or begin to show signs of paralysis. Some rabid animals bite at the slightest provocation and others may be somnolent and difficult to arouse. Once the animal shows signs of paralysis, the disease progresses very quickly and the animal dies.

Prodromal phase: first symptoms of rabies

The early symptoms of rabies tend to be subtle, last 2 to 3 days, and include the following:

  • Change in tone of the dog’s bark
  • Chewing at the bite site
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Subtle changes in behavior

Furious phase: “mad dog syndrome”  

The second phase of infection usually lasts 2 to 4 days and not all rabid animals experience it. Animals that enter immediately into the final paralytic phase are sometimes said to have dumb or paralytic rabies. Animals that spend most of their diseased state in the furious phase are sometimes said to have furious rabies. An infected dog may viciously attack any moving object, person, or animal; a caged rabid dog will chew the wire, break their teeth, and try to bite a hand moving in front of the cage. Rabid cats will attack suddenly, biting and scratching. Foxes will invade yards and attack dogs, cows, and porcupines.

They may show the following signs:

  • Craving to eat anything, including inedible objects
  • Constant growling and barking
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Erratic behavior
  • Episodes of aggression
  • Facial expression showing anxiety and hyper-alertness
  • Irritability
  • No fear of natural enemies (e.g., wild animals may not be afraid of people)
  • Restlessness
  • Roaming
  • Seizures
  • Trembling and muscle in-coordination

Paralytic phase

The third and final phase of infection usually lasts for 2 to 4 days. Initial symptoms include the following:

  • Appearance of choking
  • Dropping of the lower jaw (in dogs)
  • Inability to swallow, leading to drooling and foaming of saliva (i.e., “foaming at the mouth”)
  • Paralysis of jaw, throat and chewing muscles

Paralysis then spreads to other parts of the body, the animal becomes depressed, rapidly enters a coma and dies.

Requirements for Owning a Domesticated Animal in Wentzville
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Requirements for owning a domesticated animal in Wentzville: 

  • You must be 17 or older to be a pet owner.
  • You must be able to provide nutritious food, clean water, and adequate shelter.
  • The animal must have a rabies vaccination and proof of the vaccination by a veterinarian.
  • St. Charles County Animal Tag.

For further questions, contact the Wentzville Police Department’s Animal Control Division at (636) 327-5105.

What Can I do about Feces Being Left in My Yard?
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If your neighbor’s animals are leaving feces in your yard or a neighbor is not picking up their animals feces in their yard, per City Ordinance 205.520, the owner or person in control of the animal is required to pick up the deposited feces, and if he/she is in violation of this ordinance, a summons may be issued to the owner. 

To report violations of this ordinance, contact the Wentzville Police Department Animal Control Division at (636) 327-5105.

Section 205.520: Regulation of Animal Feces

A. It shall be unlawful for owner or controlling party to allow or permit such animal to defecate upon any private property owned by another, condominium common elements, or public property unless such person shall promptly remove all feces so deposited by such animal and dispose of it in a proper manner in an appropriate container.

B. The owner or controlling party  shall remove fecal matter deposited by the animal on their property, someone else’s property, or in a public place, including but not limited to streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and public parks and dispose of all fecal accumulations in any pen, run, cage or yard where any animal is kept in such a manner as to prevent the unsightly accumulation of fecal matter, the breeding of flies or other insects, the creation of offensive, disagreeable or noxious odors or other nuisance conditions and shall remove and properly dispose of such feces.

C. Any person found to be in violation of the provisions of this Section shall be subject upon such finding to a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500).

What do I do if My Animal is Lost/Missing/Impounded?
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If your animal is lost, missing or if you suspect it has been impounded for running at large, we encourage you to monitor the Department’s Facebook or Twitter pages, as we post any photographs of animals that have been picked up by our officers and taken to the Pet Adoption Center.

You will need to contact the Pet Adoption Center at (636) 949-7387 to see if they have an animal matching the description of your lost pet.

The hours of operation for the Pet Adoption Center are:

Monday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Thursday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sunday: Closed

If the Pet Adoption Center has your animal, you will need to respond to 4850 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, St. Peters, MO 63376 to retrieve your animal. The owner will be required to provide the following:

  • Positive identification of pet
  • Proof of rabies vaccination
  • Payment for required fees for boarding, rabies vaccination, euthanizing, quarantine and/or cremation.

Pet Adoption Center Pricing:

  • Rabies vaccination: $5 altered and  $10 unaltered
  • Rabies vouchers: $27 altered and $30 unaltered
  • Microchip: $10
  • Administration fee: $10
  • Boarding fee: $10/day
  • Adoption fee: $60 for dogs or cats

Contact the Pet Adoption Center and/or visit their website for a complete list of fees.

A municipal summons may also be issued and mailed to the animal owner.  A court appearance may also be required and an additional fine may be imposed by the Municipal Judge.

What if I am Bitten or My Dog Bites Someone?
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If you are bitten or your animal has bitten someone, contact the Wentzville Police Department’s Animal Control at (636) 327-5105.

It is required by Missouri statute and City Ordinance 205.430 that the animal be quarantined for (10) days at a facility or at the residents home.

It will be up to the discretion of the officer on whether or not the animal may be quarantined at home. This will be based on a number of circumstances which include but are not limited to:

  •  If the offending animal has proof of a valid rabies vaccination.
  • The animal has not met the criteria to be a dangerous vicious or ferocious animal as defined later in this section. 
  • The owner agrees to the quarantine at the owner’s home or business.  This shall not apply if the animal owner’s residence or business is not within the City limits.
  • The animal owner agrees to the following guidelines: 
    • Animal is not allowed outdoors off-leash.
    • Animal is allowed no contact with visitors or other animals.
    • Animal must reside indoors for the duration of the quarantine observation.
    • The Animal Control Officer or other designated Police official shall have twenty-four (24) hour access to the animal to check on its condition.
    • If an animal dies while under quarantine during the ten (10) days of impoudment, regardless of location or cause of death, the Animal Control Officer shall be notified and cause the head to be removed by the veterinarian and submitted for rabies testing.  The owner will be responsible for all costs.   

It is preferred that one person looks after the animal during this period and looks for signs of rabies which include:

  • Change of behavior-not eating or drinking or wanting to be left alone
  • Vicious
  • Paralysis
  • Difficult to arouse
  • Starts biting at people
  • Chewing at bite site
  • Fever
  • Change in bank tone

After the ten (10) day period, if no signs of rabies is present, the animal may be taken out of quarantine.

If your animal bites someone, a summons will be issued for vicious animal which carries a fine of no less than $500.  There will also be quarantine fees and City fees to get your animal out of impoundment.

Wildlife Calls
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If you are having issues with wildlife, such as rabbits, raccoons, snakes, opossum, and squirrels you may contact the following for help and assistance: