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Dog control, nuisance ordinances discussed by town

March 27, 2013 by

A pair of ordinances served as the topic of discussion by the Lakeview Town Council at a Tuesday, March 12, work session.

The first, Ordinance No. 751, pertains to dog and loose animal control, while the second, Ordinance No. 813, addressed snow removal requirements around town as part of its nuisance and nuisance abatement policies.

The discussion was requested by Mayor Mike Patrick, said Town Mgr. Ray Simms, who during the meeting said the dog control ordinance is in need of re-writing and brought up-to-date. Town Attorney John Bogardus said the town had previously four or five different animal control-related ordinances.

Ordinance 751 featured uniformity between the town and county governments on animal control as an intended effort, but harkens back to a time when there was a dedicated animal control officer in the community.

Budget-related issues led to this position being eliminated, as neither the town nor the county could afford to maintain the position, Bogardus said, who acknowledged that some type of enforcement is needed in town.

Councilor Wenzel inquired on language in the ordinance that delegated responsibility of enforcement to the town’s attorney. Bogardus said that element also dates back to a time when a municipal court existed locally. He also said that this duty may have been changed by the district attorney at the time.

Other topics of discussion included a possible update of dog license and other related fees.

Town of Lakeview Police Chief Jeff Kamp noted that the issue is a mixed bag. He acknowledged there are lots of dogs running loose in the community, as well as plenty of responsible pet owners who follow the mandated rules.

Kamp also acknowledged a need for an animal control officer, as it is neither practical nor effective to dedicate one of a limited staff solely to loose or nuisance animal issues. He suggested a revision of the penalty component of the ordinance, as the current minimal costs/fines may not necessarily encourage compliance.

The council’s discussion of Ordinance No. 813, which covers varied nuisances and their abatement, was driven by Mayor Patrick’s observation of lax response by local merchants in clearing their sidewalks of snow following the storms of the recent winter. As well, the ordinance does not set forth concrete requirements for snow removal in residential areas, he noted.

Mayor Patrick inquired as to the possibility of an amendment to the ordinance that would incorporate both residential and commercial zones in mandating removal of snow from walkways following a storm. Simms suggested either referring to all zones, or else taking out existing language and encompass all areas of town in subsequent new language.

Bogardus said such an approach could be done, versus drafting an entirely new ordinance.

Kamp noted the current timeframe of two hours following a storm for snow removal may be problematic for some residents, given the variance of working schedules. A discussion on the possibility of extending the allotted time frame.

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