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Middlebourne Vicious Dog Vote Fizzles

By Staff | Aug 19, 2015

Middlebourne town council met in regular session on Monday Aug. 11, 2015. On the agenda was the third and final reading of a vicious dog ordinance.

The original ordinance which was drafted by the Town’s attorney Gary Rymer had it’s first reading at the June, 2015 meeting. At that meeting councilwoman Sue Pelikan, expressed concern over lack of language in the ordinance that would require specific breeds to be muzzled when out of an enclosure. She was also concerned about the amount of the fines for offenders of the ordinance.

Pelikan, recommended changing the language to require pit-bulls and rottweiler breeds to be muzzled and to increase the fines to higher amounts. Council voted unanimously in favor of the changes and Rymer was to make the changes to the ordinance. Council then voted unanimously to pass the first reading of the ordinance on a motion by Councilman Dave Myers and seconded by Councilman Bill Jenkins.

At the July 2015 council meeting two ladies spoke in opposition to the language in the ordinance which named specific breeds as dangerous and vicious and also against muzzling dogs. Council after listening to the ladies had no discussion on the matter but voted for Rymer to again draft a new ordinance which would remove the specific breed portion of the ordinance so as not to discriminate against breeds. They then proceeded to unanimously pass the second reading of the ordinance. Pelikan was absent from the meeting due to illness and two new recently elected councilpersons were present.

At Monday’s meeting the third and final reading of the ordinance was listed on the agenda. Town Recorder Sue Pelikan stated prior to the reading of the ordinance that she would like to make a motion to table the third reading of the vicious dog ordinance indefinitely until further research can be done along with conversations with county commissioners on the possibility of an animal shelter. “I’m not happy with what happened at the last meeting. I’m just not happy with the dog ordinance being as lackadaisical as it is. More effort needs to be put into it, and we need to re-evaluate it. We need more time,” she said.

She went on to say she believes it’s not going to be enforced anyway and what we have as far as the county goes is just as good as what the ordinance is at this point in time. “I think we need to table it until we can get it adjusted to where it actually means something.”

Mayor Charles Delauder said, “so you are moving that we table the third reading of the vicious dog ordinance, it will require a second, do we have a second?” Councilman Dave Myers seconded the motion.

DeLauder then asked for discussion. Pelikan stated, “I just think it needs to definitely be reworded and re-discussed because,” Councilwoman Charlene Galluzzo, then asked before Pelikan finished, “what are the parts that you are concerned about?

“The parts that I’m concerned about from last months meeting are the parts that removed specific dog breeds, we need specific dog breeds in it,” said Pelikan.

DeLauder then stated the supreme court has already ruled on that Sue, we cannot identify the dogs. “Well we need to rework it better because it needs to have strength, and when did the state? who said that, who said that? where did you get that information at?” asked Pelikan.

Mayor DeLauder responded, “I received a letter, it’s information I got from the West Virginia Humane Society.”

Pelikan said, so the state of W.Va.,. is the only state in the nation that does that? Other states don’t do that. DeLauder said, it’s the only one that’s went to the supreme court then. Pelikan countered right back saying, “you can do that (specific breeds) in other states and it’s just fine and dandy and there’s no problems with it, the fact that 74 percent of all deaths last year from dogs were due to pit bulls, pit bull mixes and rottweilers, I mean come on now!” DeLauder said Sue your getting off the subject! Pelikan said, “no I’m not were still talking about dogs.”

The Mayor said the motion is, do we wish to table it, Pelikan insisted, “yes we do, because we don’t have enough in that dog ordinance.” DeLauder then spoke over Pelikan and said, “it’s been moved and seconded, is there any further discussion? All those who wish to table it, which means it will not be brought back up” said DeLauder.

Pelikan broke in saying “no that’s not what it means.”

“Indefinitely means indefinitely,” stated DeLauder. Pelikan said, what! until? “Until somebody writes a new one,” he said. Pelikan then said she agreed with that and DeLauder then said we’re not going to look at it anymore. Pelikan snapped back, we’re not going to look at this one anymore.

Mayor DeLauder then called for a vote on the motion. He said all those in favor of tabling the ordinance signify by saying I, opposed no. He then called for a roll call vote saying he couldn’t distinguish. He asked Pelikan to call the vote. Mike Gallouzzo voted no, Charlene Gallouzzo voted no, Dave Myers voted yes to table the ordinance, Sue Pelikan voted yes to table it, and Vera Henthorn voted no, stating “because I’m tired of hearing about it.

DeLauder said the motion to table the vicious dog ordinance has been defeated. “So now I need a motion to approve the vicious dog ordinance as re-written. Pelikan asked the mayor if he had a copy as it is re-written. He said, ” I do it’s right here, no I do not but you’ve got one that’s the original that’s very close to it.” He then called for a motion to approve the vicious dog ordinance. No motion was made and Mayor DeLauder ordered the item removed from the agenda.