At the Monday, June 8, town council meeting held in Middlebourne, council received a copy of the proposed ordinance dealing with "vicious dogs" prepared by Gary Rymer, attorney for the town.
The ordinance came about as a result of complaints from citizens and coucil members over dogs running at large and aggressive behavior from certain breeds in town, in particular Pit Bulls. The proposed ordinance would give the town the power to police the quartering and control of dogs within the corporate limits.
The ordinance also calls for all dogs to be registered and taxed at the County Assessor's office and that all dangerous and/or vicious dogs to be assessed as such. The proposed ordinance specifies the breeds of Pit Bull or Rottweiler Breeds as vicious along with any other dog which has shown to be vivious by past behavior.
After reveiwing the proposed ordinance Mayor Charles Delauder asked if there were any concerns or changes that needed to be made. Councilwoman Sue Pelikan expressed concern that the ordinance did not carry a strong enough fine. The proposed fine was not less than $5 nor more than $100 for violating any of the provisions of the ordinance and not less than $500 nor more than $3000 for a violation resulting in injury.
Pelikan said she had done extensive reshearch on the matter and in 2014 alone there have been over 40 deaths due to attacks from vicious dogs, in particular Pit Bulls. She said in almost all the cases it is a neighbor or family member attacked. She said she wants the town to have an ordinance that requires the owners to take responsibility and control there dogs.
Pelikan also stated she didn't want to wait until someone is mauled or killed. She proposed changing the fines to higher amounts as a deterrment to hold dog owners accountable. Rymer said he felt the current language was sufficient and did address the responsibility of control by dog owners. He also said he felt there was no way to currently police or enforce the ordinance. Delauder also was concerned about how to enforce the ordinance. Pelikan said that was the reasoning behind the higher fines and muzzeling.
After discussion on the ordinance was held Pelikan suggested raising the fines to not less than $1000 nor more than $3,000 for first offense and not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000 for subsequent offenses. She also was very adament in demanding Pit Bulls and Rottweiller's be muzzled when out of an encloser.
The council amended the proposed ordinance to include the stiffer fines and the muzzel language, on a motion by Councilman Dave Myers and a second by Councilman Bill Jenkins. The vote was unanimous and Rymer was instructed to make the changes. The first reading of the ordinance was held and was passed unanimously.
Along the same lines of ordinances, council also unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance providing for additional traffic regulations and providing penalties for violators.
The ordinance will prohibit parking on the southern side of Dodd Street, starting from the western edge of the driveway leading to a parking area for the Tyler County Museum, the former Tyler County High School, and the Tyler Consolidated High School Soccer Field, now known as the Stealey Green Center, and then for sixty feet from the driveway in a western direction along Dodd Street. The Town Shall paint the curb yellow for this section. Penalties for parking on this section on Dodd Street will be not less than $10 nor more than $100.