Council's action reduces MP's canine population by one
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
There is one less dog in Mt. Pleasant.
After hearing an appeal of a dog removal case during their regular meeting Wednesday night, Mt. Pleasant City Council members unanimously upheld the police department’s order to remove the dog.
The dog’s owner, Derrick Malone, made the appeal. Malone did not deny that the dog bit his neighbor (Robert Guthrie, who was not present at the hearing) but contended that the dog had been provoked by Guthrie.
“Since it happened, I have moved the dogs’ kennel to the back yard and never had a problem,” Malone said.
In his appeal to the council, Malone alleged Guthrie provoked the dog by kicking at it. “This dog has never shown violence toward anyone except for this occasion,” Malone said.
The incident occurred on April 22 on the 100 block of South White Street.
Malone and Guthrie are neighbors and Guthrie reported that he was standing on his property when a black Dotson (dachshund)-type dog and a tan terrier mix came onto his property. Guthrie said the black Dotson bit his leg. Police noticed a small puncture wound on Guthrie’s leg.
Police officer Nate Entsminger, who investigated the claim, said he observed a small hole on the side of the pen and under an adjacent fence where the dogs were able to exit.
Testimony during the hearing seemed to conflict where Guthrie was at when bitten. Jon Myers, police department animal control officer, said Guthrie was in the middle of the street, attempting to get the dogs to return to Malone’s property when bitten.
Myers said that police have been called to the Malone residence in the past because dogs have been running loose.
The council has been consistent during appeal hearings, only once in the past several years allowing a dog to remain (reasoning the dog has been provoked).
However, Councilman Stan Curtis said after reading the report, he thought a neighborhood dispute may have been a factor.
“There are things that bother me about this (police) report,” Curtis began. “It is not very clear if one or two dogs were involved. It does not say how serious the bite was or the amount of provocation. It sounds to me like a disagreement between neighbors and the dog got in the middle. I think it has been blown out of proportion. It also bothers me that the complainant is not here.”
“If we are going to err, we are going to err on the side of safety,” noted Councilman Steve Engberg. “Was the dog provoked? I don’t know, I wasn’t there.”
Councilman Terry McWilliams noted the council has been consistent on appeal cases. “We have stuck with the same response on all bite cases that have come before us.”
Prior to the unanimous vote to uphold the police department’s order, City Attorney Patrick Brau said the council had to make its decision on the information presented. “You have to make (your) determination from the evidence that is here. You have to focus on this incident and the information you have.”
In other agenda items, the council confirmed a number of mayoral appointments.
Dave George was reappointed and Michelle Rosell appointed to six-year terms on the Mt. Pleasant Municipal Utilities Board of Directors. Rosell replaces Bob Stull.
Kurt Moon and Sheila Kiesey were reappointed to three-year terms on the community development committee.
Mayor Steve Brimhall appointed himself to the E911 and emergency management boards. The mayor has to either appoint himself or his designee to the boards.
Engineer Jim Warner of Warner Engineering updated the council on construction projects. He said paving of the east-west intersection of Grand and Winfield avenues will be completed by the end of the week. The intersection, however, will not be opened until Sept. 16.
“The square project is progressing nicely,” Warner said. “All of the sidewalks have been removed from the park and we’re working on the street. There have not been any surprises yet.”
Council members meet again in regular session Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. in