Long awaited dog ordinance about to gain first reading by Winfield City Council
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD — The Winfield City Council is getting ready to have the first reading of the proposed changes to the animal ordinance on April 8.
“This is basically the way the committee recommended, with the exception of a few things,” said Mayor Chris Finnell of the ordinance changes that City Attorney Wyatt Peterson drafted for the council to study.
Changes include removing the Staffordhire bull terrier, commonly referred to as a pit bull, from the dangerous animal list. Instead, the council added that any dog meeting certain dangerous characteristics should not be allowed in town.
The characteristics deemed dangerous by the council include any dog which has bitten or attacked a person or domestic animal at any time without provocation; any dog with a history or tendency to attack, cause injury or endanger safety of persons or domesticated animals; any dog trained to attack a person or persons upon command; any dog that has been trained for dog fighting, animal fighting, animal baiting; or any dog owned or kept for such purposes.
The ordinance still lists badgers, wolverines, weasels, skunks, scorpions, piranhas and sharks as dangerous animals.
Another change to the ordinance included what happens to an animal impounded. According to the proposed changes, “failure of the owner or other responsible person to reclaim an impounded animal within seven days of a written notice to the owner shall result in the animal becoming property of the city. At such time the City may humanly dispose of the animal or give the animal to an appropriate person or party for adoption.”
The council also added an anti-tether clause to the ordinance, stating that an animal shall not be tied, tethered, leashed or chained outside for more than a 30-minute period of time up to three times within a 24-hour period without a person 18 years or older being present with the dog.
Also, the tether, leash or chain may not be less than five times the length of the dog. The proposed changes also state that a dog may not be tethered in the front yard of a residence. Instead of having dogs on leashes, the proposed changes require dogs housed outside to have a secure fenced area with specific confinement requirements.
The council agreed to have the first reading of the proposed ordinance changes at the April 8 meeting.
“I thought it might be too much to review this and have the first reading all in one meeting tonight,” said City Clerk Angie Oepping.
Council member Jan Walter agreed, noting that the public would most likely want some input on the changes, “It is kind of a touchy subject.”
The council decided to insert a press release into residents’ billing to make sure everyone in the city is informed of the possible changes.
The council also:
• Heard updates on the Winfield Clinic. Jeff Suter, clinic representative, stated this may be the last year the clinic asks the city for money.
• Heard updates on the Winfield Area Recreational Center. Tammy Alliman informed the city that a local 4-H gourp will be painting a new mural on the pool building’s walls.
The next city council meeting will be at 7 p.m. at Winfield City Hall April 8.