Council wants new safety committee to examine options
Any new animal ordinance for Indian Trail needs to go through the town’s safety committee. That was the consensus from the council majority Tuesday, Feb. 14, as they voted 3 to 2, with Darlene Luther and Robert Allen opposed, not to immediately put an ordinance of some kind on the books.
“We got a public safety committee now and I think there’s possibly a lot of different avenues (to take),” Mayor Pro Tem David Cohn said. “If we could let our public safety committee investigate it, find out what it’s gonna cost, if we’re gonna need a special officer to (handle) it and let them come back with a good answer, with what we need for either a leash law or animal control.”
The problem for other council members and some of the audience is that the public safety committee’s by-laws were just approved earlier in the night and the town is still taking applications, so it could be more than a month before a committee starts to look at the issue.
“I think we should put something in place,” councilwoman Darlene Luther, who proposed the ordinance, said. “We need to put an ordinance on the books, even just to the level of fines, so there is an ordinance. I’m not talking about a dog officer, we already have animal control that we never take advantage of, because they say there’s no ordinance to enforce.”
Indian Trail resident Tommy Smith agreed, telling council members during the public comments period that law enforcement officers told him there was nothing he could do after an incident in his neighborhood of Pickett Circle, because of the lack of an ordinance.
“One of my neighbors’ animals got loose while I was riding my motorcycle, they were not paying attention to the animal and it got through their gate,” Smith said. “I had to lay my bike down on my own street. I didn’t even know there wasn’t a leash law until I called Highway Patrol and (the officer) said there was nothing I could do.”
Mayor Michael Alvarez also told of an incident near his home, when a large dog got loose.
“It just about walked in my house, chased little kids down the street,” Alvarez said, adding that it was eventually scared away by one of the other dogs in the neighborhood.
Luther had suggested that staff put together options for a possible leash law, to present to council at the next meeting. With that in place, then the public safety committee could examine it and make suggestions for any needed changes. The motion failed.
“You can tweak this all you want after the fact, but that’s not gonna be a whole lot of solace to someone who loses a child,” council member Robert Allen told other council members. “I don’t want to stare at some mother up here (who says) you had it in front of you and didn’t do it.”