Greenwood, AR council scraps animal ordinance

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Postby cheekymunkee » August 5th, 2008, 10:30 pm

Greenwood council scraps animal ordinance

Posted: Aug 4, 2008 10:28 PM CDT

Updated: Aug 5, 2008 12:19 AM CDT
GREENWOOD - At Monday's city council meeting in Greenwood, many citizens expressed their displeasure with a proposed animal ordinance. The measure contained sweeping changes for people that had pets or any other kind of animal inside the city limits.

Many people were upset the ordinance limited the number of dogs and cats, as well as other livestock and farm animals, that people could have on their property.

"I don't agree that livestock are being put in this ordinance... I don't know anyone that can run a coop with just four chickens," said one citizen.

"Nobody cares how many pets you have, unless it's a vicious dog," responded Mayor Ken Edwards.

He said the main point of the ordinance was to overhaul the way the city handles dog attacks in the city limits. In the last few weeks, several people had been bitten or mauled by dogs inside the city.

As for the other proposed changes, Mayor Edwards said the ordinance was not going to a vote that night; it was just on the agenda so the council could discuss the terms in it. He claims the version people had seen discussed by media outlets such 5News was an early draft, never meant to be voted on.

"Six council members got this ordinance... one went to the press. It's just a draft, there's not going to be a vote tonight," Edwards said at the meeting. "This is because one idiot turned over to another a chance to stir up a an awful lot of uninformed people."

The ordinance was listed among other items to be voted on, and had language in it to repeal previous ordinances as well as an emergency clause to put it into effect sooner, something one citizen asked the council about. The city's police chief, Keith Jackson, said he had accidentally added the emergency clause when he submitted it to be on the agenda.

"We had it put on tonight so we could address the biting issues, the fines, that kind of thing," Chief Jackson said. "The number of animals you could have was just an arbitrary number that was picked... that wasn't final."

During the free-form and often chaotic discussion, Councilman Jim Newcomb motioned that the ordinance be tabled indefinitely, which the council unanimously approved.

Mayor Edwards said the city would schedule a public study session for July 11 to discuss whether the city needed such revisions to their animal ordinance, and invited everyone at Monday's meeting to come back then.

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