Archive for Thursday, July 27, 2000

Council takes a bite out of the pending dog issue

July 27, 2000

Thursday night's light agenda at the DeSoto City Council meeting gave city officials an opportunity to catch up on some old business. Council members passed ordinances on several items that had been discussed at previous meetings.

Putting to rest an issue they have faced for about two months, council members decided the restriction on pit bull dogs within the city would stand.

Former DeSoto resident Andy Clemmer asked the council to revise the city's vicious dog ordinance so it would not be breed specific.

When Clemmer bought his pit bull, Siam, about six months prior to his request he was unaware of the city's ordinance regulating ownership of the dog breed.

Because pit bulls have a reputation for aggressive behavior, many cities prohibit residents from owning them or place restrictions on the owners. A 1980 DeSoto ordinance barred pit bulls from the city. The ordinance was amended in 1983 to allow the breed if the owners meet specific guidelines, including a requirement that they keep the dog on a leash no longer the four feet and the dog be muzzled at all times when outside the home. The owner must post "beware of dog" signs on their property and if the dog is left in an outside pen, its posts must be buried two-feet deep.

Clemmer said he was willing to meet all those requirements, but the ordinance had one stipulation he could not meet.

A $50,000 public liability insurance policy is also required by the city. Clemmer said he had spent "countless" hours on the phone with insurance agents but was unable to find one to sell him such a policy. He asked council members to waive the requirement.

Clemmer has since moved to Missouri, but requested the council still make a decision on the matter.

"I still think it's a bad ordinance and I would like to see it changed," he said at the time.

Council member Duke Neeland said he spent a lot of time looking into the issue but could not find enough evidence to support Clemmer's claim that pit bulls were not prone to aggressive behavior.

Thursday Neeland made a motion that the city's current ordinance stand. The council unanimously agreed.

The council also approved an ordinance to restrict large animals, such as livestock, from running at large within city limits. Residents living near Waverly Road told the council several weeks ago they had a problem with cows and bulls getting out of a nearby pasture and running through their neighborhood.

The city did not have an ordinance in place at that time to effectively deal with the problem. Council members instructed City Attorney Patrick Reavey to create an ordinance giving the city authority to fine the owners of the animals that are habitually on the loose.

Council members also approved an ordinance limiting the amount of time camping trailers or recreational vehicles can be parked outside licensed mobile home parks within the city limits.

According to the new policy, campers would not be allowed to live in their vehicles for more than 14 days. The ordinance also requires the campers to obtain a permit from the city. The permit would be issued at the discretion of the town's building inspector.

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