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Tag: ordinance

A shore thing: Wildwood may get dog beach, and just in time for Memorial Day

wildwood

Don’t know what took them so long, but Wildwood, N.J., officials appear headed to allowing some unrestricted beach access to dogs — unleashed and year-round.

Like many New Jersey beach towns, Wildwood has long had numerous rules when it comes to dogs on the beach, limiting them to winter months, off hours and requiring they be on leashes.

But two weeks ago the Wildwood City Commission — in an effort to boost tourism — voted unanimously to amend the city’s ordinance banningunleashed dogs from the beach and from cross over pathways on the boardwalk in the summer.

If the amendment is approved in a final vote scheduled for Wednesday, dogs would have year-round access — starting this Memorial Day — to a block and a half long, 190-yard-wide piece of beach in the city’s north end, probably around Poplar Avenue, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

It would be South Jersey’s first official year-round dog beach.

The designated dog beach in Wildwood would have water stations, poop bag stations and signs reminding owners to clean up after their pets.

“I’m going to bet that at the end of the summer, the public works crews will report that they had far less issues with doggie messes than they had with finding dirty disposable diapers left all over the beach,” said Peter Byron, a city commissioner, father of seven children and dog owner.

Some local motels — generally the already dog-friendly ones — are looking forward to the change.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing that the city is opening a dog beach,” said Bob Ferguson, who estimates 70 percent of the guests at his motel, the Rus Mar on Ocean Avenue, show up with dogs.

“It just says Wildwood is dog-friendly, which is a good thing for business.”

“Wildwood is not a fly-to, it’s a drive-to place. And people really want to be able to travel with the pets these days,” Commissioner Byron noted. “We think this will be a huge boost for tourism because visitors will have the chance to do that if they come to Wildwood.”

(Photo: By Tom Gralish / Philadelphia Inquirer)

Alabama town bans pit bulls after sheriff shoots what he thinks might have been one

claycouncil

Citywide pit bull bans are often knee jerk reactions — maybe even more so when a county sheriff”s knees are involved.

One week after Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale was approached in his yard by four dogs “acting aggressive and looking like pit bull breeds” — and fired a shotgun at them, grazing one — the Alabama city of Clay passed a “vicious dog” ordinance banning pit bulls and pit bull mixes.

sheriffhaleThe sheriff, according to a spokesman, fired a warning shot into the ground, then another round of ”bird shot” in the direction of the dogs, leading them to turn away. Animal control arrived to round up the dogs, and their owner was charged with letting them run at large. The dog hit by Hale’s shot survived, AL.com reported.

That incident prompted the city council in Clay, with a speed seldom seen in government affairs, to pass an ordinance banning pit bulls and other “vicious” or “dangerous” dogs. 

The ordinance bans new pit bulls and mixes that include pit bull. Such dogs already kept in the city limits are grandfathered in but must be registered with the city in the next 60 days. The ordinance requires they be kept indoors and mandates owners post a prominently displayed ”beware of dog” sign. Owners are also required to have $50,000 in liability insurance. Violations can be punished with a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.

Having sought little public input before passing the law on June 3, the city council has gotten some since, AL.com reports.

A standing room only crowd filled Monday night’s meeting of the Clay City Council, with most citizens arguing the breed is not “inherently dangerous” and criticizing the law for unfairly penalizing responsible owners. Many, including a representative from the Birmingham Humane Society, urged the council to consider a non-breed specific dangerous dog law instead.

One speaker continued to voice his concerns after his turn to speak was over. When told he was interrupting, he continued his comments, leading Mayor Charles Webster — perhaps deeming him to be inherently dangerous — to ban him from the room.

“You are turning us all into criminals,” the man, identified as Mark Lawson, said as a deputy led him outside.

City Attorney Alan Summers said he would try to have a new or modified ordinance for the council to consider at its next meeting on July 1.

(Top photo by Jeremy Gray / AL.com)

Dallas sets rules for handling strays

Folks in Dallas may become a little less likely to befriend a stray dog in need in light of an ordinance passed by the City Council this week.

The council approved an ordinance Wednesday requiring anyone who takes possession of a stray dog to make a reasonable effort to find the dog’s owner, the Dallas Morning News reports.

The rule comes largely as a result of one persistent dog owner, Brad Kirby, who has lobbied City Hall since two of his huskies disappeared two years ago. Kirby found the person he suspected stole them, but police said little could be done because the man told authorities he’d encountered the dogs running loose and gave them away.

The ordinance gives a person who picks up a stray dog 72 hours to:

• Call the phone number listed on the dog’s tags;

• Take the dog to a licensed veterinarian to screen for a microchip, tattoo or other identification and to call the owner if one is identified;

• Call 311 to request that animal services pick up the dog; or

• Deliver the dog to the city’s animal shelter.

A violation – meaning failure to do any of those things — will be punishable by a fine up to $500.

The lone vote against the measure came from council member Vonciel Hill, a former city judge, who said she worries that someone trying to help a stray could end up in trouble.

“I think that this ordinance places an inordinate burden on any person who is trying to have some kindness toward a stray,” she said.

Pit BULL: “No place for them in our society”

Boston’s six-year-old ban on pit bulls has proven to be “all bark and no bite,” according to a review by the Boston Herald.

While the city has issued tickets in more than 518 cases since the law went into effect in 2004 — all to owners who failed to register or muzzle their pit bulls, as the law requires – the vast majority of them (four of every five)  have refused to pay their $100  fines.

Instead, many of them have opted to turn their dogs over to the city, meaning that, in addition to not collecting the fine money, the city’s burdened with the expense of caring for dogs whose owners have deemed the expendable.

“It’s a disposable commodity, and they don’t care. They’re not good dog owners,” said Sgt. Charles Rudack, director of Boston Animal Control, which has no authority to force scofflaws to pay the $140,000 in unpaid fines.

Rudack said about 1,000 violators have chosen to turn over their pit bulls to Animal Control rather than pay the fine.

Pit bulls under the care of Animal Control are put up for adoption. Those that aren’t adopted or taken in by other rescues are euthanized.

City Councilor Rob Consalvo, who co-sponsored the pit bull ordinance — it requires pit bulls to be registered, muzzled in public and for their owners to display “beware of dog sign” at their homes — defended the law.

“We never said this ordinance was going to be a magic wand that would make the problem go away. What we did say is that this would be a new tool that animal control and police could use to get a better handle on what I see is a problem with pit bulls.”

State data shows pit bull and pit bull breed attacks in Boston increased between 2006 and 2008, from 25 to 46. But that trend reversed last year, when the city recorded just 30 attacks from pit bull and pit bull breeds.

Still, people like Donna Fitzgerald, whose Shiba Inu “Rocky” was attacked by an unleashed pit bull in South Boston in 2004, say banning the breed seems to be the only solution.

“I’m a dog lover and I don’t mean to sound cruel about a certain breed, but there’s just no place for them in our society,” said Fitzgerald, who now lives in Florida.

(Photo by John Woestendiek)

Hermosa Beach to ban pet sales in stores

Hermosa Beach does not have any pet stores that sell dogs or cats — and if the city council has its way, it never will.

City officials took the first step Tuesday night in banning the sale of dogs and cats in city pet stores – a move designed to raise awareness about animal welfare issues, discourage puppy mills and encourage pet adoptions. A final vote is planned April 13.

An ordinance prohibiting the practice – modeled after a recently enacted ban in West Hollywood – won unanimous support from the city council and will return for final adoption at the next meeting, the Daily Breeze in Torrance reported.

City Manager Steve Burrell says the ban would not extend to veterinary clinics arranging and assisting in dog and cat adoptions.

“This is thought to provide the beginning of the emphasis on cutting down on the number of puppy mills and cat factories in various places,” Burrell said.

If it approves the ordinance, Hermosa Beach would join West Hollywood and South Lake Tahoe in outlawing the sales of dogs and cats in pet stores.

Santa Cruz may reconsider downtown dog ban

santacruzNearly 35 years after it banned dogs from downtown, Santa Cruz is considering allowing them to return.

The coastal California city, plagued by strays that were being picked up at a clip of 200  a month in the 1970s, banned dogs in its central business district in 1976, at the urging of merchants.

More than three decades, merchants are again urging change — but this time it’s to allow dogs back into the business district, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Today, the Downtown Association, which represents business owners, will discuss recommending the council overturn the ordinance while strengthening leash laws and other safeguards.

An association poll shows a majority of merchants believe they are missing out on business from tourists and locals who would bring their dogs downtown for a stroll or dining at outside tables, much as they do in well-known dog-friendly towns like Carmel and Los Gatos.

In Santa Cruz, dogs are also banned from some local beaches and the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf.

“Forty years later, the council has the right to reconsider something,” said Mayor Mike Rotkin, who has served a total of 26 years on the council since 1979. “It’s a very different council and times are different.”

Former Councilwoman Carole De Palma, who voted for the 1976 ban, said the city should reconsider reversing the law because dog owners tend to be more responsible these days. De Palma, who owns a 7-year-old dachshund-Chihuahua mix named Pearl, said increasing safeguards could reduce problems that led to the ban.

Jackson, Miss. looks at pit bull ban

The city council in Jackson, Miss., plans to reconsider a proposal to ban pit bulls from the city after last month’s death of a five-year-old girl.

City Councilman Jeff Weill believes he has enough votes to ban pit bull terriers from the city, the Clarion-Ledger reports.

Weill, who has long pushed to ban pit bulls, had all but abandoned his idea. But the Feb. 12 attack that killed Anataisa Bingham in Terry has rekindled concerns.

The city considered outlawing pit bulls in 2006, but ban was removed from a proposed ordinance when pit bull owners and breeders complained.

Only two council members oppose banning the breed, one of whom, Tony Yarber, is a pit bull owner.

Weill said he plans to bring the ban up for a vote next week at a meeting of the council’s rules committee. If it passes, the ordinance would move to the full council for public hearings and a final vote.

Weill suggested the ban could be gradual, and said it might make exceptions for pit bulls that are already family pets.