Tag: city council
The Virginia city of Suffolk has approved a ban on dog-tethering, effective the first of September.
After months of wrangling over details and considering compromises, the city council voted 6-2 to enact an outright ban on dog-tethering, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
Suffolk joins a growing number of Virginia cities that have taken steps to ban or limit tethering dogs outside. Hampton forbids it, and Portsmouth, Norfolk and Virginia Beach limit tethering to a maximum of three hours a day.
Suffolk City Councilman Mike Duman, who had proposed a 10-hour a day limit, said he was pleased with the outcome.
Police Chief Thomas Bennett told the council an outright ban would be easier to enforce than restricting tethering to a certain number of hours a day.
The ordinance makes tethering a Class Four misdemeanor punishable by a $250 fine.
(Photo: A tethered dog photographed in the Pleasant Hill area of Suffolk; by Jason Hirschfeld / The Virginian-Pilot)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, banned, bans, city council, dog, dogs, fine, hampton, law, misdemeanor, norfolk, outside, pets, portsmouth, restrictions, suffolk, tethering, tying, virginia, virginia beach
A Raleigh city councilwoman posted a photo of her dog relieving himself on a marble column of the statehouse, and compared her canine’s act of seeming disrespect to the way the Republican-controlled General Assembly is treating North Carolina’s citizens.
“I figured, what better way to get my frustration across than with humor?” said City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin, who used her Maltese-Yorkie mix and Facebook to register her displeasure.
“It shows a little outrage, and I think a little outrage is appropriate right now,” Baldwin said Friday. “I think it’s time for the gloves to come off.”
Baldwin on Friday posted a photo on Facebook of her dog, Jack Bauer — named for the terrorist-fighting agent from the TV show “24″ – relieving himself on a marble column outside the North Carolina General Assembly.
The Democratic councilwoman admits it may be undiplomatic, but she says the image seems to capture the sort of disrespect that, in her view, Republican lawmakers are showing — particularly in regards to a deal the city of Raleigh made with the state to lease the 325-acre grounds of the closed Dorothea Dix mental hospital for a regional park.
Republican lawmakers have moved to kill the deal, which had been signed and approved by former Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat.
Bills introduced last week would essentially tear up that contract. Republican lawmakers say the deal is not good for taxpayers, and that the $68 million the state could receive over the decades from the city is too low, according to the Associated Press
“It’s beyond me how lawmakers, who are supposed to uphold the law, can think they can undo a legally binding contract,” Baldwin said. “This is nothing more than bullying and intimidation by some members of the General Assembly.”
“I was hoping for the best, but I think I’m seeing the worst,” Baldwin said of the GOP legislative agenda. “When I think about some of the legislation that has moved forward lately, whether it’s telling local governments what design standards they should have, or getting rid of renewable energy tax credits, and then you through Dix on top of that, you just sit there and say, ‘What are we doing?’”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, capitol, city council, column, deal, dog, dogs, dorothea dix, facebook, general assembly, jack bauer, lease, maltese, marble, mary-ann baldwin, mental hospital, mix, north carolina, park, pee, peeing, pees, pets, photo, politics, post, raleigh, republicans, statehouse, urinating, yorkie, yorkshire terrier
Supporters who showed up to back a proposed dog park in Ann Arbor learned it had been taken off this week’s city council meeting’s agenda — apparently out of of concerns that its location across the street from a historically African-American church would be viewed as culturally insensitive.
Ann Arbor officials pulled the plug on the proposal after New Hope Baptist Church leaders raised concerns about noise and safety and what they called “cultural differences,” according to AnnArbor.com. It reported:
“Leaders of the historically black congregation communicated to city officials that a number of the church’s members were born in the South and have different attitudes about dogs, and they simply see a dog park as incompatible with their ability to worship freely.”
I don’t think southerners and northerners, or for that matter blacks and whites, have widely varying attitudes about dogs. People do. Some look at dogs and see joy; some look at them and see danger, or at least a nuisance. That is, most often, a product of their environment and experiences — rather than their region of origin or skin color.
A well-maintained dog park in the neighborhood doesn’t lower home values, it raises them. It’s neither direspecful or insulting.
Tabling the plan seems to send the opposite messages, and to lend credence to the faulty preconception that one can’t be both black and a dog lover.
Sometimes — maybe even especially in progressive communities like Ann Arbor – sensitively tiptoeing around a subject can land you in a big pile of stereotype. No matter which side you’re on.
In expressing the church’s opposition to the dog park’s location in West Park earlier this month, The Rev. Rodrick Green said:
“There’s no reason why it has to be placed in an area that’s going to be offensive to us as a people and as a church, and right now it’s offensive,” he said earlier this month.
That, with all due respect, seems a leap — whether he’s talking about African-Americans, Baptists, or members of his congregation.
But apparently it was enough for the council, not wanting to appear politically incorrect, to take the matter off its agenda.
Despite doing so, council members still got an earful from supporters of a new and centrally located off-leash playground for dogs in Ann Arbor.
One of the speakers at the city council meeting, John Lawter, a former parks commissioner who has led the effort for more dog parks in Ann Arbor, went so far as to suggest that church members work to overcome any fear they have of dogs.
“Let’s break this culture of fear,” Lawter added, calling fear “an ugly thing” that should be put down whenever possible.
Lawter said he believes members of New Hope Baptist Church are sincere in their concerns, but he still feels they are founded in a “gross misunderstanding of canine behavior.”
Several residents noted that the Arise Church, a United Methodist congregation in Pinckney, established a two-acre dog park on its property and that it led to increased church membership.
“We believe that God created people to be in community, and that we are at our best when we’re in relationship to one another,” the church’s website reads. “Therefore, we provide this dog park not only as a fun safe place where dogs can get good exercise, but our greatest hope is that dog owners will make friends here and enjoy great conversations together.”
” … These folks in Pinckney have grown their congregation by having people first come visit the dog park and then decide, ‘Geez, these are good Christian values of inclusion, tolerance, charity and love,’ and then they join the congregation,” said Ann Arbor resident Harold Kirchen.
City officials say a dog park close to downtown remains a priority, and that other locations will be reviewed.
Ann Arbor has two-off leash dog parks — one at Swift Run in the southeast part of the city and one at Olson Park in the northeast part of the city.
Lawter said he believes the city should have stuck with an initial proposal to construct a dog park at West Park as a temporary facility that can be removed after a year if there are problems.
“Ann Arbor is a culturally diverse city,” Lawter said. “Our dog owners are a culturally diverse group, and our parks should be open to all cultures, including the four-legged variety.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: african american, animals, ann arbor, baptist, city council, compalints, concerns, congregation, cultural, differences, dog park, dogs, insensitive, location, michigan, new hope baptist church, pets, West Park
A dog park next to a church? Heaven forbid!
The leaders of New Hope Baptist Church say a dog park that has been proposed across the street would disrupt their services and pose a safety hazard to parishioners.
“It upsets the dignity of our worship services,” the Rev. Rodrick Green told the Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission last month. “It’s going to be a noise problem because we’re conducting our services at the time when people are going to be bringing their dogs, and dogs make noise. You can’t control dog noise.”
Green and church trustee Thomas Miree have both spoken out against the city’s proposal to establish a small off-leash dog park at the Chapin Street entrance to West Park, directly across the street from the church.
The city council will take the matter up at its next meeting, on Jan. 22, according to AnnArbor.com.
The park commission is recommending approval of the dog park — it would become the third in the city — under the condition that it be reviewed one year after it opens.
City park officials said the proposed dog park is a response to public demand that one be located close to downtown. Ann Arbor’s existing dog parks are located at Swift Run in the southeast part of the city, and at Olson Park in the northeast part of the city.
But church leaders at New Hope Baptist are still hoping the city will rethink the location.
“We have a situation where children, who are sometimes afraid of dogs, are put at risk, and maybe now they have a disincentive to use the park because of the dogs,” Rev. Green said. “There are so many reasons for them not to do it, and only a couple of reasons in favor of it.”
City Council Member Christopher Taylor says the dog park would be fenced, with a double-gated entry system.
“As for the noise and so forth … dog parks … are not particularly disruptive — certainly less disruptive than unsupervised dog play,” Taylor said.
Green says the church would have no complaints if the dog park would be located farther back on the piece of property.
“West Park is a large park,” he said. “There’s no reason why it has to be placed in an area that’s going to be offensive to us as a people and as a church, and right now it’s offensive.”
(Photos: New Hope Baptist Church and the proposed location of a dog park, across the street; by Ryan J. Stanton / AnnArbor.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ann arbor, church, city council, dog, dog park, dogs, michigan, new hope baptist church, objections, parks, parks advisory commission, pastor, pets, proposal, proposed, reverend, West Park
A company we’ve told you about before, called PooPrints, made its case before the Dallas City Council this week, promising it could solve one of life’s great and ongoing mysteries — and it’s not who shot J.R.
It’s “Whose poop is this?” and, as company officials pointed out, tracking down and fining the owners of dogs who didn’t clean up could bring in millions in revenue for the city.
(Not to mention millions in revenue for the company.)
At least one Dallas City Council member expressed more than a passing interest in the company’s proposal to establish a citywide doggie DNA registry that would allow unscooped piles of poop to be traced to their source.
The company is already working with apartment and condo complexes around the country, but now it seems to have its sights set on signing up entire cities.
We, in case you can’t tell, hate this idea (and we pick up).
NBC5 in Dallas reports that, while some Dallas City Council members chuckled Wednesday when they heard about the idea, others thought it had merit.
“I think that’s a great idea,” Councilwoman Angela Hunt said. “I think we do need enforcement, especially in some of our denser areas where you have a lot of folks living with dogs and, if they’re not picking up. It creates a problem.”
PooPrints said cracking down, through DNA testing, could help clean up the environment. “This waste does run off into the Trinity River, and it does affect our ecosystem,” spokesman Chris Taylor said. “And we do want to keep our parks clean. We want to keep them healthy. This is a very easy way to do it.”
Company officials say residents could be required to pay for the $29.95 kits required to get a DNA sample. The city — while it would pay for the tests on the poop itself – $49.95 each — would more than recoup that expense through fining perpetrators.
The Ilume apartment complex on Cedar Springs Road in Dallas is already using the program on its property. Residents are required to record their pet’s DNA, and they’re fined $250 if waste on the property is tracked to that pet. A second offense leads to eviction.
“We’ve gone from picking up maybe an hour a day of poop, to picking up maybe one or two a month,” manager Joshuah Welch said.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: angela hunt, animals, city council, dallas, dna, dog, dogs, enforcement, environment, eviction, feces, fines, kits, penalties, pets, poo prints, poop, registry, revenue, scoop, shit, testing, unscooped, waste
The Los Angeles City Council tentatively approved an ordinance Wednesday that will make it the largest city in the nation to ban pet shops from selling dogs obtained from commercial breeders.
The council voted 12-2 in favor of the ordinance, the Los Angeles Times reports.
People can still buy dogs directly from breeders, but pet stores will be limited to selling animals obtained from shelters, humane societies and rescue groups.
The law is aimed at curbing puppy mills and preventing tens of thousands of animals from being euthanized in city shelters each year.
Stores that violate the restrictions could face penalties starting at $250.
Similar ordinances are in effect in at least three other California cities — Irvine, Hermosa Beach and West Hollywood.
Pet shop owners called the law unfair.
“It’s just making us suffer,” said Candice Ro, owner of Olympic Pet Shop in Koreatown.
Councilman Paul Koretz, a longtime supporter of animal rights, championed the ban and said lawmakers have a duty to stick up for animals who “cannot speak for themselves.”
City officials said the ban, which returns to the council for a final vote next week, could affect two dozen pet stores. The restrictions will be reviewed after three years to determine if they should be continued.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, ban, breeders, city council, commercial breeders, dog, dogs, law, los angeles, ordinance, pet, pets, prohibits, puppies, puppy mills, rescue, sales, shelter, shops, store
Elephant Butte is going to let Blue continue to roam, at least within the one-acre confines of a wireless electric fence.
Officials in the New Mexico town voted Wednesday to make some amendments in their leash law.
As a result, Blue — an Australian heeler who was abandoned in town more than 10 years ago and has since become a mostly respected resident — can continue to hang out at the Butte General Store and watch the world go by.
Caretakers of the store, who feed Blue, initially sought an exemption from town leash laws for the dog, citing his friendly demeanor and long-time presence in the community.
After the town declined, a compromise was reached, and approved in a council vote, according to the Associated Press.
Invisible Fence of New Mexico donated a fence that gives Blue about an acre of territory to roam around the store. The system delivers an electric jolt when Blue crosses the perimeter, as he’s done once so far.
“They did a lot of training with him, but it’s going to take a while,” said Janice Conner, who owns the general store with husband Bob Owen.
Blue, who has repeatedly run away from homes that have tried to adopt him, has spent most of his time around the store since the death about two years ago of the owner of Casa Taco, Blue’s previous hangout.
Community members have built him an air-conditioned and heated dog house and store visitors regularly donate for his care.
The debate over what to do about Blue led to some positive changes in the town’s dog law. Under the new ordinance, pet owners must be given warnings before a dog can be picked up by animal control, and any complaints about a dog must be verified before pet owners are cited.
On top of that, Conner said, the controversy led to Blue making 3,700 Facebook friends.
“In his name, people have donated money to people with other dogs in need,” she said in a telephone interview. “Dogs have been adopted through his Facebook page. All around, it has been a real positive thing.”
While Blue has rarely exhibited aggressive behavior, some residents began complaining about Blue after a fatal pit bull attack in neighboring Truth or Consequences. Based on a complaint from a resident who said Blue was following her, Elephant Butte issued a citation for a leash law violation to Owen, even though he wasn’t the dog’s official owner.
Albuquerque attorney Hilary Noskin took up Blue’s cause and, in addition to representing Owen, negotiated with the city to grant Blue a leash law exemption.
(Photo: From Blue’s Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, australian cattle dog, blue, bob owen, butte general store, city council, community, compromise, dog, electic, elephant butte, exemption, fence, heeler, invisible, janice conner, leash laws, new miexico, pets, wireless
It has been about three months since we last checked in on Wausau, Wisconsin, and that ridiculous two-dog limit it imposes on its residents.
At the time, Melissa Lecker and her husband James were being told by the city they must part with two of their four dogs.
James and Melissa had moved there three months earlier, for jobs, and bought a house — unaware of the city’s two-dog rule.
When they were notified they were in violation of it, they requested an exemption, pointing out that their two golden retrievers were 13 years old, and probably wouldn’t be around much longer anyway.
Most of the bureaucrats they appealed to acted like, well, bureaucrats. They declined to discuss an exception, and the Leckers decided that, rather than part with a family member, the only thing they could do was move.
After some media coverage about their situation, and the city’s two-dog limit, the city council began reviewing the law, and the mayor notified the Leckers that, until the council decided whether to change ordinance, they wouldn’t be fined.
As Melissa Lecker wrote in a recent opinion piece in the Wausau Daily Herald:
In March, Mayor Jim Tipple told us we would not be fined and would not have to give up the dogs. We took our home off the market and began to settle in to our new home and new city, hoping to put the past behind us as the city drafted a new ordinance …
The city began considering a revised and slightly more liberal ordinance that would limit households to five pets — any combination of dogs and cats, as long as the total didn’t rise above five.
Given the Leckers have three cats, in addition to their four dogs, they’d still be over the limit, and, according to Melissa, the mayor told them that once a new law was in place they could be fined.
“I am glad change is coming. But it doesn’t help us,” Melissa wrote.
“We have decided as a family it is best for us to leave Wausau. We’ve signed a contract with a Realtor and have begun preparing our house for sale. We’ve also found a home in Stevens Point we are interested in buying. Regardless of what Wausau does at its June City Council meeting, we feel this is no longer where we belong.”
City officials say the ordinance was passed in 1989 to curb animal nuisance complaints, but as Keene Winters, a member of the city council, noted in an opinion piece in Sunday’s Herald, it has now become a divisive issue.
“Soon, we could have pet owners and non-pet owners locked in a cage match for municipal supremacy,” he wrote.
“There does not seem to be any evidence that the three-dog households already among us create any unusual nuisance,” Winters wrote. “So sending out our police to compel 125 of our neighbors to make a “Sophie’s choice” and eliminate a member of their family is likely to be greeted as unfairly punitive.
“I can see no compelling public interest in the two-dog limit that would warrant imposing such a heartwrenching penalty on so many of our neighbors.”
Winters said he favors allowing people to have up to five well-behaved dogs, assuming they license them. (Only about 30 percent of Wausau’s dogs are registered, he says.)
The city council is meeting tonight on the issue, and it appears divided on whether the ordinance should be altered or kept intact.
The Daily Herald, in an editorial yesterday, came out against the limit — which now restricts a family to two dogs and three cats – saying other existing laws are sufficient for addressing pet-related problems:
“The City Council should do away with the limit on pets, and it should make sure local law enforcement has what it needs to enforce the rules that do make a difference in residents’ lives.”
Under one proposal, residents could get a special “pet fancier’s” permit, allowing them to own up to five animals. In other words, the only change would be moving from a limit of two dogs and three cats to a limit of five pets total, in any combination.
How positively liberating.
Meanwhile, between the confusion, the city’s intrusive rules, and what Lecker describes as the heavy-handed enforcement of them, it has been enough to lead at least one family to wave goodbye to Wausau.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bureaucracy, city, city council, dog, dogs, government, james lecker, jim tipple, laws, leaving, limit, maximum, mayor, melissa lecker, moving, municipalities, number, owners, ownership, pet, pets, rules, town, two dog limit, wausua, wisconsin
Blue’s not totally destitute. He has an air conditioned dog house, $1,800 in savings, a Facebook page and a lawyer, who’s now working to get him an exemption from local leash laws so he can continue his free and rambling lifestyle.
Abandoned as a puppy 10 years ago, Blue, also known as Bluedog, was left at Casa Taco and cared for by the owner, who died two years ago, according to the Associated Press.
Janice Conner, co-owner of Butte General Store and Marina, took over feeding Blue after that. But when a citizen complained about Blue following her and her dog on walks, someone in the city decided that Blue should receive a citation for being off leash, and issued it to Conner’s husband, Bob Owen.
Albuquerque attorney Hilary Noskin offered her legal services, and is trying to get Owen, who doesn’t officially own the dog, off the hook — and win an exemption that would allow Blue to live out the rest of his years, preferably untethered, in front of the store he now calls home.
“He’s one of my favorite clients,” says Noskin. “He is a sweet, sweet dog. He doesn’t meet any vicious dog standards. Somebody said he snarls … but I am not sure I believe that.”
City Manager Alan Briley says the city has received complaints about Blue snapping and growling and almost being hit by cars crossing the street.
Blue has resisted efforts to adopt him, always making his way back to the store. Local residents have donated more than $1,800 his care, Conner said, and they’ve also built him a dog house with heating pads for the winter and air conditioning for the summer.
“Everybody just loves this dog. People who can’t afford a dog bring their kids here to play with Blue. … He is the only dog I know who got four plates of Thanksgiving dinner at his dog house,” she said.
Conner says she has collected more than 1,100 signatures in support of Blue, who is on Facebook as Bluedog EB-Mascot.
“He was here before we became a city” she said, “so all we are asking for is for the city to grandfather him in as a representative of the community.”
(Photo: From Blue’s Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air conditioned, australian cattle dog, blue, blue dog, bluedog, butte general store, casa taco, citation, citizens, city council, communal dog, dog house, donations, elephant butte, everybodys dog, exemption, facebook, heated, hilary noskin, homeless, janice conner, lawyer, leash laws, new mexico, off-leash, residents, savings account, stray, wanderer
The council, while nixing plans for a dog beach in the California town, instructed staff to start working on a plan to allow leashed dogs in more parks and build more fenced open space for dogs to run. The city now has one dog park.
The council’s main concerns seemed to be that dog waste could compound existing problems with bacteria levels on the city’s beaches, and that its limited and eroding beach space should be reserved for use by people.
“I do think we need to increase the amenities for dogs and pets,” council member Tim Brown said at a Tuesday council meeting. “[But] we don’t have an abundant beach line — we have a strand that has been disappearing over the years.”
Tom Bonigut, assistant city engineer, said any increase in bacterial levels in San Clemente’s coastal waters could result in steep fines from regional water quality agencies.
Even Councilman Bob Baker, a dog owner, was against letting dogs run on the beach, according to Patch.com.
“Your dog should be on a leash at all times when you’re in public,” Baker said. “If you’re letting your dog run around on the beach without a leash, you’re making a big mistake.”
The strand of beach in the proposal runs from Dije Court to Mariposa Point and would have been open to dogs from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m.
“I don’t want to swim in dog poop water,” Mimi Lane (pictured above) told the council, according to the Orange County Register.
About a dozen residents spoke against the beach plan, while about two dozen spoke in favor of it.
The city estimates it is home to about 16,000 dogs, only about 5,000 of which are licensed.
(Photo: Fred Swegles / Orange County Register)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: against, animals, bacteria, beach, beaches, california, city council, concerns, dog, dog beaches, dog parks, dogs, eroding, erosion, feces, leash free, limited, meeting, parks, pets, poop, proposal, rejected, san clemente, unleashed, waste