Archive for Wednesday, June 30, 2004

City decision goes to the dogs

Commissioners put limit on how long animals can be chained

June 30, 2004


Pet owners will be prohibited from chaining their dogs all day under an ordinance given unanimous initial approval Tuesday by the Lawrence City Commission.

"This commission's intention is to make this a safer community for all of us who live here, dog owners and nondog owners," Commissioner David Schauner said.

The decision came after more than an hour of testimony, mostly from supporters of the ordinance, who said that continuous tethering was cruel to animals.

"There is nothing in nature that prepares a dog to be chained and tethered for a lifetime," said Midge Grinstead, director of the Lawrence Humane Society, who showed a series of pictures that included a local dog that had strangled itself on its tether.

But there was opposition to the ordinance.

"The way it's written now, I'm worried it could discriminate against all dog owners who keep their pets outside," said Mary Wendt, a Lawrence ordinance.

The proposed ordinance -- based on one passed last year in Wichita -- would prohibit people from keeping a dog chained for more than one hour at a time, for a maximum of three hours a day, with required three-hour breaks between chainings.

Violations would result in a minimum fine of $100, and the municipal judge would have the authority to sentence violators to six months in jail.

Commissioner David Dunfield expressed concern about the short time a dog could be tethered before its owner ran afoul of the law.

"This is about dogs who live on chains," he said. "The difference between 'continuous' and 'one hour' is pretty dramatic."

Advocates said the time limit would make the ordinance easier to enforce, so that animal control officers could more easily determine violations.

"This ordinance is in no way intended to keep people from chaining up their dogs outside on a nice day," said Ann Wilson, chair of the Lawrence Anti-Tethering Committee.

Final approval of the ordinance is expected in the next two weeks. Enforcement could begin in mid-July.

$5,000 grant OK'd for sister-city dinnerThe Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday approved granting $5,000 toward a dinner honoring delegates from Hiratsuka, Japan, during Lawrence's 150th birthday celebration in September.The $5,000 will augment the $9,000 raised from ticket sales to the community dinner and funds already available to the sister cities program."I think this is very modest," Mayor Mike Rundle said. "If we're going to be committed to the sister cities program, we need to step forward when there's a need."The dinner is planned for Sept. 18.Area plan approvedThree central Lawrence neighborhoods will get their area plan, but they won't be able to block a site plan for a proposed apartment building.Hillcrest, Old West Lawrence and Pinckney neighborhood associations had asked the Lawrence City Commission to create an "area plan" to guide development between Fifth, Sixth, Alabama and California streets.But city officials said that paperwork for the apartments proposed at Seventh and Wisconsin streets was far enough through the process that it would be unfair to grant the associations' request for a moratorium on site plan acceptances.The proposed site plan is on target to hit the City Commission desk next week."Something that has come that far through the system has to be considered in the pipeline," Commissioner David Dunfield said.

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