Council holds bull session
As one resident asked DeSoto City Council members to reconsider an ordinance regulating pit bull dogs in the city, two residents asked them to create one regulating bulls of the bovine variety.
Andy Clemmer asked the council two weeks ago to do away with an ordinance requiring pit bull owners to purchase a $50,000 public liability insurance policy.
Clemmer returned to the council meeting Thursday night to learn council members tabled the issue for another month while they study more about the breed of dog and its reputation for aggressive behavior.
Residents Anita Martin and Norma Longhoffer also asked for some help from the council, but the two women were looking for a more stringent animal control ordinance.
Martin and Longhoffer told council members cows and bulls from a nearby pasture commonly roam the streets of their neighborhood on Waverly Road. They said the animals cause damage to their property and create a safety problem for area residents.
The problem has been an ongoing one over the years, Martin said. As the area has become more residential, the animals have become more of nuisance, she said.
"They're getting through their fence and walking through the neighborhood, causing damage. I'm afraid to let my grandchildren play outside," she said. "This has been going on for 20 years. I think I've been very patient."
Longhoffer said the cows ruined the corn planted in her garden and damaged many of her other crops.
"I thought the deer were doing the damage until I saw the cows in the garden," she said. "I went out one morning and I couldn't believe it. They ate two rows of peppers and they were the expensive kind."
The situation got more serious when a bull charged her one day as she worked in the garden, Longhoffer said.
"I saw the bull standing there and it started to charge at me," she said. "I remembered my dad told me once that you shouldn't run, but there was no way I was going to just stand there."
The bull was distracted by something and Longhoffer made it back to her house safely, but she worried about what would happen if the bull charged a young child.
"There are an awful lot of young people in the surrounding areas and a lot of the families like to go for leisurely walks in the evenings," she said. "Anita has had to warn people to turn around before when the bulls were out."
City Administrator Gerald Cooper told the council the city doesn't have a sufficient ordinance to deal with the problem. As the neighborhoods in areas such as Waverly Road were developed, people with livestock were often "grandfathered in," he said.
"The ordinance to regulate that is very weak," he said.
Council members asked city attorney Patrick Reavey to study the existing ordinance and get back with them.
Martin said she doesn't necessarily want to see the animals go.
"Sometimes when I get angry I do, but for the most part, I just want a fence to be put up that's strong enough to keep them in," she said.
City attorney Patrick Reavey told Martin and Longhoffer they could also consider filing a civil suit against the owner of the property.