The city’s revamped animal control ordinance, adopted last year, calls for specific breeds of dogs - considered vicious or even potentially vicious - to be registered with the city. To get registered, the owner has to be current on all the dog’s vaccinations, have an insurance policy taken out on the animal, and the dog must be spayed or neutered.
One resident, however, told council Tuesday night that spaying and neutering may be taking it too far.
“What does that have to do with the dog being potentially vicious?” asked Natasha Bonner, who said she’s already complied with getting vaccinations and the insurance policy.
She said she keeps her dog in a fenced yard.
“He’s not running the street to be a nuisance,” Bonner said. “I have everything but (neutering). I even have a letter from my veterinarian saying he’s non-aggressive.”
Council members said Tuesday they’d be willing to look at the ordinance again and possibly make a change to say dogs must be spayed or neutered only if they’re proven vicious: involved in an incident with a person or another animal. Police Chief David Kerr said the specific measure was put in because the operation has been known to make some dogs less aggressive.
“We were trying to think of everything” when writing the ordinance, Councilwoman Judy Wilkinson said. “Things are always coming up we need to rethink.”
Mayor Drew Ferguson IV told Bonner that council likely would look at the ordinance change at its next work session, April 9.
“The dog is not running loose, so we’ve got time to work this out,” Kerr said.
Council is planning to consider another ordinance to help clean up the city. Planning and zoning director Sammy Osborne asked council to consider adopting the International Property Maintenance Code, which can be used by building inspectors on existing properties.
Osborne said the code addresses some of the city’s biggest issues regarding run-down properties, such as junk cars and overgrown yards. The code requires a city inspection of all rental properties before utilities are turned on for a new owner. It also gives a strict timeline for improvements to be made, something the city doesn’t currently have.
“With this code, once 10 days is up, we can send an officer to write a citation, then they can go talk to the judge,” Osborne said.
The city has been using the ordinance as a guide for a little more than a week and “it’s gotten a lot of attention,” he said.
Council’s next work session is 8:15 a.m. April 9, and the next council meeting is 6 p.m. April 13. All meetings are at City Hall.
Jennifer Shrader may be reached at jshrader@
lagrangenews.com or at (706) 884-7311, Ext. 236.