Animal Control & Codes Violations Hearings
When you are served with a citation from either county agency, the citation will list your charge(s) as well as a court date.
All Magistrate Court hearings are held at 9am unless it is a special set case or another time is given to you to appear.
Failure to Appear
Note that immediately following the date of the hearing, you will receive a failure to appear citation. The citation reads: “a failure to appear and answer this charge will result in the issuance of a warrant for your arrest.”
On your court date, when your case is called, you will have an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, a fine will likely be imposed. The fine is due on the morning of court. If you cannot pay the fine(s) on the court date, you will be placed on probation, which can be up to 60 days per count, until the fine(s) are paid in full, or until the probation requirements are met and completed.
In some incidents, the Judge may issue an order that requires you to comply with a remedy to prevent further county ordinance violations. For example, requiring a fence enclosure, or other means of animal retention, to ensure that your animals remain on your property. Another example could be a court order to remove litter from property if unsanitary conditions exist. If you have been given such an order, you will be required to appear at a second court date to review your case for compliance.
If you plead not guilty but want your case to be resolved in the Magistrate Court, you will be given a second court date called a Bench Trial. On this date, further evidence will be taken from the prosecuting witness such as, Animal Control Officers, Code Enforcement Officers, or witnesses that has been subpoenaed. You will also be given the opportunity to present your case through testimony, evidence and any witnesses you may have.