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Branson Proposes Changes to Animal Control Ordinance

Dustin Holmes


The City of Branson Police Department is proposing an ordinance that would change how citizens and businesses must take care and keep track of animals in the city.

The new ordinance comes at the recommendation of the police department after it looked at animal laws in other cities in southwest Missouri and guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture. Branson’s police department has handled animal control in the city since 2018. Police Chief Jeff Matthews says the ordinance would replace the current law, which he says hasn’t been updated since the 1990s.

A major change focuses on pet ownership, and is aimed at preventing the spread of diseases like rabies.

“We feel that the old ordinance does not adequately address the needs of pets and pet owners, and so we’re recommending the amended ordinance to enhance that safety feature,” Matthews tells KSMU.

The owners of dogs, cats, and ferrets - animals that carry rabies - would be subject to an annual licensing fee: $10 for spayed and neutered pets and $20 for unaltered pets. A three-year license would also be available to owners. There would also be a six pet limit to the number of those animals allowed in households, with up to 8 chickens allowed.

Exotic animals would also be banned.

“Lions, tigers, and bears, are what I’ve said publicly," Matthews says. "Plus poisonous and venomous snakes, alligators, crocodiles. Those kind of things are prohibited by this proposed ordinance.”

The changes would also impact commercial and tourist operations in Branson that use animals. The ordinance would let Branson’s animal control inspect commercial facilities to make sure animals are cared for properly. Facilities would also be required to have plans on hand to deal with an escaped animal.

The city has been holding town hall meetings to discuss the new ordinance with the public. The last meeting is scheduled for June 9 at 6 P.M. in the Branson Community Center. The proposed ordinance can be found online at The Branson Board of Aldermen plans to vote on the ordinance on August 24.