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County to Study Changes to Allow Rattlesnake-Avoidance Trainings

The Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to direct County staff to come back within 60 days with recommendations to allow “fully-insured, state-registered businesses or nonprofits in good standing” to use live rattlesnakes to train dogs how to avoid the repti

County supervisors voted Tuesday to study the idea of relaxing a County ordinance to allow dog owners to get rattlesnake-avoidance training for their pets.

The Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to direct County staff to come back within 60 days with recommendations to allow “fully-insured, state-registered businesses or nonprofits in good standing” to use live rattlesnakes to train dogs how to avoid the reptiles — a training proponents said can save the lives of dogs and pet owners alike.

Any proposed ordinance changes would have to be approved by the Board when the issue is brought back for further consideration, and would only apply to unincorporated areas.

The County’s current ordinance forbids owning venomous reptiles, and therefore, such training, in the unincorporated parts of the county.

Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Bill Horn brought the idea to the Board for consideration after businesses and pet owners said they wanted such trainings to be available.

Jacob said the Board’s action was not meant to address whether the rattlesnake avoidance training — which typically includes a live, restrained or muzzled rattlesnake and electronic collars for the dogs — worked, but to give pet owners and businesses the option.

“What we’re trying to do here with this ordinance is to make it easier for trainers to conduct their business in the county, in the unincorporated area, and to let the public decide if they’d like to take part,” Jacob said.

Jacob, Horn and Supervisor Greg Cox voted to pursue studying changing the ordinance. Supervisor Pam Slater-Price opposed the action, but said she could reconsider it when County staff members brought proposed ordinance changes back for consideration. Board Chairman Ron Roberts was in Washington D.C.

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