TCAC Holds Ordinance Meetings

Tulare County Animal Control (TCAC) is planning changes to their policies, procedures and county ordinances regarding the way that division of Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency interfaces with the pet owners of Tulare County.

Residents of unincorporated areas of Tulare County can expect to hear about proposed changes to Tulare County Animal Control ordinances and lend their opinion and expertise to staff during public meetings that are being held by Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency.

The first of three public “listening” forums took place at Earlimart Elementary School last month. Turnout was sparse, consisting of four individuals and a couple of late stragglers, who did not speak. The County’s presentation staff were polite and attentive to the many questions and remarks voiced by Wendy Jones, whose legal battle with TCAC has joined with Bill Fabricius, a disabled Navy veteran. Fabricius has been repeatedly targeting by TCAC, he said, resulting in the death of more than 30 of his ranch dogs and a bill from the County for a $30,747, purportedly for TCAC’s seizure, subsequent impound, boarding and vet bills.

Anita Irving, a long-time resident of Tulare County, raised important access issues for elderly Tulare County residents in terms of TCAC’s planned abatement measures.

“Where the County is planning on designing access to TCAC’s features through internet access,” she said, “the County should keep in mind that elderly and disabled residents might encounter obstacles with this plan, particularly older residents who may not be as conversant with utilizing the internet for their needs.”

Of the many concerns voiced by those in attendance, the most commonly voiced was the probability of an expanded fee schedule which TCAC claims would remain subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors.

Other concerns voiced by Jones and Fabricius centered on their combined suffering of what both described as willful disregard of due process in TCAC’s current warrant procedures. Jones and Fabricius both raised a number of concerns surrounding the County’s plan to expand animal control agents’ authority to serving warrants in lieu of law enforcement, and TCAC’s plan to initiate their new procedures over rural aspects of Tulare County.

“The County’s plan doesn’t appear to consider the fact that some rural areas of Tulare County are not immediately subject to county authority where some land, such as my own, falls under land patent dating back to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,” Fabricius said.

“I’ve tried numerous times to educate county authorities with TCAC regarding this aspect of their territorial jurisdiction, or lack thereof. Unfortunately, this reality of their territorial jurisdiction seems beyond their consideration and my efforts to explain this limitation on their authority and application of county ordinances to rural land in Tulare County to date have been largely disdained. One would think that County Counsel would understand the legal ramifications of county authorities enforcing county ordinances over ‘unincorporated land,’ but that office doesn’t appear to understand property law either.”

Two more public meetings regarding TCAC’s planned changes were scheduled. One in Dinuba took place on April 23 and a third is scheduled for Porterville on Thursday, May 14, at the Porterville City Council chambers.


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