Public Barks About Proposed Dog Law

A move to define dangerous breeds of dogs in Crothersville stalled last Tuesday evening when local residents and at least one town council member voiced opposition to the new ordinance.
The proposed ordinance would have listed dangerous dog breeds in Crothersville as Pit Bull, Rottweiller, German Shepherd, Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Doberman Pinscher, Chow, Great Dane, St. Bernard, and Akita.
The proposed law would not have banned such breeds of dogs in town but it would limit them to one dog of a dangerous breeds to any household. And any of the named breed dogs would be required to be contained in a fenced yard, kennel, or on a leash which accompanied by the owner.
While there was uniformity among the town council that changes needed to be made to the existing dog ordinance, there was not unanimous support for the proposed new dog law.
“We don’t have the right to tell residents what kind of dog they can have,” said councilman Bob Lyttle. “We are looking at this all wrong. It isn’t the dog; it’s the dog owner. If the dog isn’t trained properly, any dog can be a dangerous dog.”
Many residents in attendance at the first council meeting of the year, voiced their support for changes in local dog ordinance but not the changes proposed.
“Any dog ordinance should not be breed specific,” said resident Jennifer Plumm. “What the town needs to do is have an ordinance which defines aggression and dangerous behavior.”
Many residents said police should take action when dogs exhibit continual or frequent aggression and are not properly contained.
But police acting as animal control officers is limited because the town has no place to house animals if removed from a home and no animal shelter will accept dangerous or vicious dogs.
Town councilwoman Danieta Foster spearheaded the proposed dog ordinance change after local mail carriers voiced concern about two locations in town with dogs that were not adequately contained and inhibited their efforts to deliver mail to those residents and others in the neighborhood.
“Danieta did a lot of work to come up with this proposed ordinance and she should be commended for being proactive,” said councilwoman Brenda Holzworth. “But from the comments tonight, we need to do more work.”
Town council president Lenvel ‘Butch’ Robinson agreed. “I think the consensus is to re-think this more,” he said.
Then addressing the residents speaking against the proposed dog law, he said, “You folks who are up in arms, give us some ideas of what you want to see in a new dog ordinance. Don’t wait until a town council meeting to start complaining. Help us form the kind of dog ordinance you think will work.”
The council tabled any action on the proposed dog ordinance.
In other business, councilman Chad Wilson proposed that some unused areas of town-owned property be developed into community garden plots.
“Other communities have come up with garden plots tended by community residents for vegetables and flowers,” he said.
He added plots could be 10’x10’ or 10×20’ and inexpensively rented to families or individuals.
“If they have a buy-in there is greater likelihood that they will be better stewards of their space,” said Wilson. “It is a way of augmenting your food budget and a way of meeting your neighbors and getting to know others” he said.
“More importantly,” he said, “It helps us be more of a community.”
All plans are tentative right now but Wilson said a meeting is planned for next Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at town hall for those interested helping to organize and participate in the endeavor.
Among the areas cited a potential community garden sites is town owned property at the corner of Main Street & Pennsylvania Ave. north of the VFW and a vacant lot owned by the school on Preston Street south of the administration building.
In annual appointments to board and commissions:
•Brenda Holzworth, Chad Wilson and firefighter Charles Densford were re-appointed to the town safety board.
•Fire Chief Ben Spencer was re-appointed to represent the town on Homeland Security.
•Lenvil ‘Butch’ Robinson was re-appointed to represent the town on the Jackson County Recycling Board.
•Robinson was re-appointed council president and Bob Lyttle vice president.
•Brent Turner was re-appointed the at-will Chief of Police for the town.
•Curt Kovener was re-appointed the town’s representative on Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation.
•Jeff Lorenzo was re-appointed as town legal counsel.