An ordinance introduced at last week’s council meeting by Councilwoman Millie Harris would make tethering an unattended animal within the city limits a finable offense, except during shows and other judged events.
“We’re moving forward, but there’s just a lot of steps to take,” Harris said Tuesday.
The councilwoman said she expects the ordinance to undergo some changes to tailor it more to the needs of the community.
“I want it to last and have community buy-in,” she said. “I want it to be reasonable.”
The law she proposed last week was modeled after ordinances adopted in Florida.
Councilman Seyram Selase said at last week’s council meeting that he had several questions about the proposal he needed answered.
“For me, I need a little more education on how we’re holding these dog owners responsible,” he said.
Constituents, he added, have come to him concerned about how vicious dogs in the community will be handled and whether the animals could pose increased risk to neighbors if untethered. He said he also needs statistics and information about city liability regarding dog attacks in the city.
Harris said the city also needs to consider enforcing laws currently on the books, including a law that requires licenses for all dogs living within the city limits.
The city’s Animal Control, the Humane Society of the United States, and residents both in favor and against the ordinance will be represented at the 5 p.m. work session in the old council chambers at City Hall, Harris said. Harris said the council would also be willing to hear ideas and concerns from members of the public at the meeting.
Harris said a new tethering ordinance won’t come back before the council at its meeting next week.
“It’s going to take the city attorney a little more time to do all these considerations,” she said.
Selase said he hopes to get answers for his constituents Thursday.
“I think even Councilwoman Harris bringing it up is a good way to educate the community currently where we are with our pet population,” he said. “I think the conversation is very healthy.”
Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.