Code Enforcement/Animal Control Officer

Belle Fourche News

Clint Haffner has been the Code Enforcement/Animal Control Officer for Belle Fourche since 2016. He says this was a new work experience for him and the job took a lot of learning.

Haffner works out of the Police Department, and receives approximately 1,200 to 1,500 calls per year from dispatch, related to his duties. There’s a great deal of physical labor to his position and the workload is considerable for a community this size. He not only interacts with the public and assists other departments – particularly the Police Department and Public Works – but also handles his own paperwork, including notices of violation, abatements and documentation.

A chief portion of his work involves monitoring the properties in town while addressing nuisance issues. He monitors for violations of snow ordinances in winter and grass and weed ordinances in summer. He also monitors for junk in yards, such as abandoned vehicles, and deals with dilapidated homes at times. Haffner’s work involves private property only: as city property and buildings are overseen by Public Works.

Animal control is a part of his daily duties. Haffner handles issues with wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, mink, foxes, badgers, and coyotes. He also deals with pet dogs and cats of the community, including animals at large, and animal bites. There are approximately 5-10 dog bites in the city yearly, and Haffner himself was once badly bitten when serving notice about a dangerous animal. But abandoned pets are those that concern him the most.

“Many renters who move out of town, leave their pets behind,” says Haffner. “There are also pets given as Christmas gifts to people who don’t know how to care of them or can’t afford to do so.” Some winter days, he’s found animals out in bitter cold with frostbitten paws.

An animal lover himself, Haffner has two cats and a dog but often fosters animals in need – especially in May when litters are born. If a mother cat is missing or dead, he has taken in kittens to bottle feed them, as well as injured dogs.

“It’s rewarding to help animals; when you can get suffering dogs and cats out of the cold and hopefully, to new homes. I’m grateful to the people who help me do it.” We have been fortunate to develop a great group of citizens who help foster animals in need.

Haffner is also anxious to stress the importance of pet education. “You really need to keep animals on a leash or within a property fence if they are outside. And getting and maintaining rabies shots is critical.” The Belle Fourche Vet Clinic(406 Summit) is offering a low cost rabies clinic on May 11, 2024 from 8am to noon and pet-owners can also get a city license at no cost during the event. Please have dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier, cost of rabies vaccine is $7.00.