By CHRIS MENEES
Hornbeak aldermen have approved the first reading of a vicious dog ordinance that gives some bite to enforcing a growing problem.
Like many towns, Horn-beak has experienced a problem with dogs running at large, but there has also been the added dilemma of some dogs posing a danger to residents.
Hornbeak Mayor Dennis Dozier said it is a serious situation and he said police have responded three times to address a dog problem with one resident in particular. Hornbeak Police Chief Ronnie Moore said he issued a citation after a pit bull “got on” a little boy and also attacked a girl’s dog.
“We need that dog law passed,” Moore told alder-men as they considered the proposed ordinance.
Moore said the dog problem is not limited to pit bulls, though, and Dozier said their town is not the only community having problems.
“It’s a problem every-where, not only Hornbeak,” the mayor said.
Dozier said people have vicious breeds of dogs and there is an increasing danger of someone being seriously injured.
The proposed ordinance amends current municipal code by adding a section regarding vicious dogs, and it specifically names several breeds of dogs which are included and outlines stringent requirements for having those breeds.
According to the or-dinance, it will be unlawful to own or harbor any vicious dog in Hornbeak unless the owner strictly complies with the standards and requirements being set. Those regulations include registration, use of a leash and muzzle, confinement, the placement of “beware of dog” signs, proof of insurance and identification photos of the vicious dogs to be provided to the city recorder.
The first reading of the ordinance was approved by a 4-0 vote Tuesday night. It requires a second reading before becoming final.
Dozier told aldermen the proposed ordinance is only the first part of what is being recommended to deal with Hornbeak’s dog problems and he told aldermen to expect more information at next month’s meeting.
In other action during Tuesday night’s 45-minute Hornbeak meeting, opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer led by Hornbeak firefighter Brian Davis, the board:
• Tabled action on the second and final reading of an ordinance which will allow city employees to seek elected office and serve on the town’s board of aldermen.
The first reading of the ordinance was approved at the board’s February meeting and the second reading was set for Tuesday night. Vice mayor Lynn Finch made a motion to approve the second and final reading of the ordinance and it received three votes in favor, with aldermen Robbie Riley and Paul Truett abstaining. It was announced the ordinance did not pass, though, because it needed four favorable votes from the seven-member board. Two aldermen, Debi Jerden and Leon Walden, were absent.
The ordinance was recently proposed after a question arose about a possible conflict with Truett serving on the board and also working for the town. Truett does contract labor for the town and works to maintain its sewer system. He is retired from Goodyear and runs the Hornbeak Water Utility District and he is also now a certified sewer collection agent.
In explaining why she abstained from the vote, halting the passage of the ordinance, Ms. Riley told her fellow board members she has nothing against Truett but does not believe in changing city ordinances “at the drop of a hat” when something goes wrong.
The board voted 4-0 to table the second reading of the ordinance until the next meeting, with Truett also abstaining from that vote.
• Learned there is a need for donations for upkeep of the city cemetery. City recorder Joyce Truett has a list, but she said many of those donors are now deceased. She said if anyone knows of family members who might be able to provide addresses for surviving relatives, they should contact her at Hornbeak City Hall.
• Approved amending the town’s rural fire contract to levy a fee of $75 for a fire report for non-members. The report fee would not apply to rural fire service subscribers.
• Was informed it was discovered 115 addresses outside the town were not found in the rural fire database. Those residents will be contacted when the new year begins for rural fire service.
• Learned the third phase of the town’s sewer project is scheduled to start by Monday.
Dozier presented board members with some facts about the sewer system and asked them to keep them in mind when they are contacted with questions. He outlined what could be costly consequences for those who decline sewer system hook-up if they have problems with their septic tanks later on.
• Approved the purchase of two decorative city limits signs for placement along the town’s main thoroughfare on Highway 21 and other city limits signs like those currently in place for entrances on all other roads leading into the town.
The board also learned the city limits sign at the ballpark on Glass Road was recently stolen, and Moore said he and the sheriff’s department are investigating the recent theft of several signs and 11 mailboxes.
• Approved a road committee recommendation to clean out drains and culverts on Webb Store Road and Short Street.
• Was informed ATA has completed the town’s audit.
• Was reminded next month’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m., rather than 6, due to the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.
• Learned a state House bill to reduce the number of Hornbeak board of aldermen members from seven to five has progressed to the governor for approval.
• Was asked to consider the purchase of a two-line phone for the office at City Hall in the future and also the prospect of adding some equipment that would enable the use of cell phones inside the City Hall building. Currently, city employees and those who utilize the facility do not have cell phone reception inside the metal building.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 3.6.13