Archive for Thursday, October 13, 2005

Council mulling city’s first leash law

October 13, 2005

Dogs in Eudora might have a harder time getting away from their masters in a few weeks.

Police Chief Greg Dahlem asked the Eudora City Council to amend the city's at-large dog ordinance Monday night.

"What I'm asking the council for is to direct the city attorney to look at our dog running at-large ordinance that we currently have," Dahlem said.

The current ordinance hit a snag with officers because the wording makes it hard for them to prove in court that a dog was really running at-large.

"You know if you have a well-behaved dog and tell it to heel, or you tell it to come back and it comes back, is it control? Yes," Dahlem said.

If a dog is running around and getting into someone's trash or pool, it wouldn't be in control, the police chief said.

Dahlem said officers had been having issues with a specific dog in the city limits.

"I'd like to see us stiffen our running at-large ordinance a bit," Dahlem said.

Dahlem suggested amending the words in the current ordinance to specify that if a dog is outside the owner's premises, it must be physically restrained.

If the ordinance is amended during the next meeting, it would, in effect, become Eudora's first leash law.

The council recognized Dahlem's issue and how it affects the police force.

"From what I understand they've written tickets before and it's thrown out because of the wordage in the ordinance," Councilman Scott Hopson said.

Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle agreed, saying dogs need to be in physical control rather than verbal control.

Pyle recounted how he saw a girl walking down Main Street with large dogs attached to long leashes and how they all split off into different directions.

"To me this is kind of dangerous ---- dangerous for her for one thing," Pyle said.

The chains could also lead to a problem for the dogs as well as pedestrians, the mayor said, adding that such danger could require regulation.

"I think the leash should be a certain amount -- six-foot leash, eight-foot leash, whatever," Pyle said.

Other members of the council agreed the ordinance needed revision.

Dahlem said the leash issue could be easily solved, either by forbidding retractable leashes or regulating them.

Council members agreed the intent was not to keep citizens from walking dogs, but residents need to help officers have the tools to do their job.

The council passed the proposal unanimously, instructing Cooley to rewrite the ordinance. It will probably be up for the city council's final review at its next meeting Oct. 24.

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