Pit bulls to be allowed in Winfield
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD — Pit bulls are welcome in Winfield.
In a narrow vote, the Winfield City Council voted at Monday night’s city council meeting that pit bull dogs will be allowed in town.
While the new ordinance is not yet written, the council voted 3-2 to rewrite the ordinance that has been under deliberation since April of 2012.
The committee, formed to review the old animal ordinance, presented its ideas to the council with options for the ordinance to include allowing pit bulls if the council voted in favor of the dog, or not allowing so-called vicious dogs in town.
The committee, formed last April, comprised of Roger Sharp, Jan Walter and Ryan Rees.
“The committee met, and I’ve read what they’ve come up with. It looks like they have done quite a bit of work,” said Mayor Chris Finnell.
With the proposed ordinance having options both allowing and not allowing pit bulls, the city first had to decide which way the ordinance should go.
“The first thing we are going to have to do is vote on if we are going to allow pit bulls or not,” said Walter.
The first motion was made by Sharp, and was against allowing pit bulls, but it did not pass with only two in favor, and three against.
The second motion, made by Rees, was to allow pit bulls in the town of Winfield as long as the rules outlined in the proposed ordinance are followed.
In the original proposal to the city, it was stated that a person must be 19 years of age or older to be in control of a pit bull. In his motion, Rees requested that age be changed to 18.
“I think if you are old enough to fight for your country, you should be old enough to walk your dog,” stated Rees.
The motion passed with Rees, Walter and Ryan Kinneberg voting for the motion. Sharp and David Good voted against it.
While the proposed changes are not yet written into the city ordinance, the council agreed to get the proposed changes to the city attorney, Wyatt Peterson, to write the changes into an ordinance for the city to discuss and approve as early as its next meeting.
In the proposed changes, there will be rules for owners of vicious dogs to follow in order to keep the dog in town and still maintain the safety of the city.
“We have muzzle requirements, fence requirements, anti-tether and all of that,” said Walter about the proposed changes.
The biggest concern to the council was the possibility of dog bites, but with the anti-tether requirement, some members of the council believe that will lessen the likelihood of a dog attack.
“A lot of the dog bites we’ve gotten are from dogs that were tethered,’ said Walter.
The council also:
• Declared January to be Mentoring Month in Winfield.
• Appointed Josh Sparrow as fire chief.
• Agreed to form an emergency situation plan for the city offices.
• Approved the WARC liquor license renewal.
The next city council meeting will be Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.