Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2005

Council keeps pet policy pat

September 29, 2005

Although finding expressed sympathy from individual members of the council, Gilbert and Susan Frazey's appeal of the city's dog ordinance failed during Monday's City Council meeting.

The Council remained staunch on the ordinance with members saying if it granted the Frazey's appeal, the Council would be setting a dangerous precedent.

The issue first arose when the city took complaints from the Frazey's neighbors about the volume of the dogs' barking.

"Our attention was drawn to the dog situation when some complaints were made about noise from the dogs, and we were not aware at the time they were causing a problem," said dog owner Gilbert Frazey. "But as we thought about it and talked to our neighbors and told the neighborhood about the situation, we found out that the neighbors had to go to bed early and that they were being bothered by the barking of the dogs."

After discussing the issue with the neighborhood, the Frazeys said they'd find ways to keep the dogs' volume under control.

"So we worked on that, especially from the standpoint of either going outside in the backyard with the dogs, or standing or essentially being there or not allowing them to bark."

After the Frazeys worked on the noise issue with their neighbors, they became aware they weren't in accordance with Eudora's pet ordinance.

The ordinance basically states that a resident cannot own more than three dogs without a kennel license. By the ordinance, the city could only grant the kennel license in certain non-residential zoned areas.

Frazey said he and his wife own four dogs of their own and take in three more for weeks at a time when a relative visits.

"We've been working carefully to keep them from barking, and keeping them from bothering people that we know would be sleeping or resting," Frazey said.

The council members looked at the Frazeys as having a two-fold problem: first with the noise and then with the ordinance.

The council focused on the ordinance.

"If we don't stick with the ordinance as such with four dogs, I don't know where it's going to end," councilman Bill Whitten said.

The council argued that if it granted the Frazeys' request to keep more than the ordained limit of animals, it would create a slippery slope with the limit climbing higher and higher.

As for the noise or the possibility of having seven dogs when the relative visits, councilwoman Lori Fritzel suggested the Frazeys look into a doggy daycare program.

Susan Frazey said that wouldn't be feasible.

"It's quite expensive for us," she said. "I'm at home. I'm retired and not working yet, and I keep them quiet as much as I can. I go out each time with them."

Although the Frazeys own four dogs, they don't consider themselves a kennel, and would hate to lose them.

"We certainly don't think of our situation as being a kennel. We love dogs and we try to take care of them," Susan Frazey said. "It's like members of our family, and we can't part with them now. I don't have any children and these are my family."

The Council heard Frazey's words but looked toward the good of the city as a whole for their decision.

"I say we probably ought to stick by the ordinance and only allow three," councilman Kevin Miller said. "If we start allowing provisions for certain people, then you'd get yourself into a whole different fiasco."

Whitten held a similar view.

"I'm a dog owner myself and I understand your problem, but I need to look out for the citizens of Eudora in the majority," Whitten said.

If the council decided to increase the limit, it could lead to other issues.

"When you have that many dogs it's hard to keep them up and keep them off the street," Whitten said.

That could, in turn, also lead to more problems for the police, Whitten said.

Fritzel said she was also a dog owner, having three herself, but agreed with the ordinance.

The council voted unanimously to uphold the ordinance and gave the Frazeys 30 days to come into compliance with the ordinance.

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