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March 19, 2019 12:56 pm

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Douglas' Proposed Dog Amendment Put On Hold So City Can Include "Nuisance" Language

      It may be the dog days of summer, but Douglas city leaders Monday weren’t quite ready to approve an amendment to a city ordinance regulating the keeping of dogs; they first want to make sure nuisance, as it relates to dogs, is clearly defined and have it be a part of the amendment.
        “Your city manager (Bill LeFevere) said it, you got ordinances in place to address nuisance; use them,” Rob Surina told the Douglas City Council after they voted to put a hold on the proposal.
        Surina and partner Penny VanDyke live in Wilderness Ridge Subdivision and own three Shetland Sheepdogs. Complaints about the dogs to the city from certain neighbors brought the issue to the forefront.  
        The first reading of the amendment, under codes labeled “animals” and “keeping of animals,” was before the council Monday.
        The amendment would increase the number of dogs allowed in the city from two to four. It also makes it unlawful for a person’s animals to soil public or private property without prompt removal.    
        “What we are doing here is delaying the inevitable and not addressing the core issue,” said Douglas City Council Member Lisa Greenwood.
        That issue is nuisance and her colleagues concurred the number of dogs didn’t matter as much as that issue. They asked city staff to include language in the amendment that further defines nuisance and identifies what it constitutes.
        City Manager LeFevere reiterated the city code already dealt with various nuisance issues, but council wants the topic specifically addressed under the dog resolution, specifically under section (92.02) that deals with the “keeping of animals.”
        Greenwood conceded she was “not a dog person” and at times directing her comments to Surina and VanDyke.
        “There needs to be regulation that says it’s not okay to leave your dogs hours and hours on end unattended,” said Greenwood, indirectly referencing complaints filed with the city by Wilderness Ridge Subdivision resident Phil Hartgerink about Surina and VanDyke’s dogs.
        “We are doing everything we can to be responsible dog owners,” said Surina in response to Greenwood’s comments.
        “Two months ago Wilderness Ridge Association had its most recent yearly meeting; nothing was mentioned about dog nuisance or dog barking, nothing.”
        The couple recently installed—and was given the green light by the Wilderness Ridge Architectural Committee—to have a 24-foot x 12-foot dog run as part of their continuous efforts to appease neighbors’ concerns.
        Before that they debarked two of the three Shelties and then this Wednesday, the third Sheltie went through the same surgical procedure. The couple have also installed an underground fence.
        And more recently they’ve taken even further steps.
        “Penny and I have installed a sound barrier, called ‘peacemaker’, at a great expense,” Surina has previously said.

Douglas’ Proposed Dog Amendment Put On Hold So City Can Include “Nuisance” Language

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