From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 104, Number 39 - September 27, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

New leash law closer to passing

by Jennie Oemig

At the Town Council meeting on Monday, Animal Control Officer Julie Early and Municipal Judge Ruth Neely, along with two concerned citizens, addressed the current progress in passing two ordinances involving the definition of restraint and the enhanced penalty for nuisance dogs.

Early questioned ordinance 422, in which it states that the provision “shall not apply to dogs confined in a vehicle, cage or similar enclosure or the bed of a pickup truck.” Asking whether the word confined included dogs in truck beds that were not tied up, Early said those particular dogs posed a threat and would automatically get a vicious dog citation, not just a nuisance dog citation. Pinedale resident Wendi Schwartz approached the council to suggest that wording regarding dogs on radio control collars be considered as under control and include that in the ordinance.

“A lot of people have their dogs that way,” she said. “We should also think of a space for a dog park.”

Mayor Steve Smith said that since the town is surrounded by county lands where dogs are not required to be leashed, owners could let their pets off their leashes in those areas.

“I think that this is probably a good thing,” Schwartz said of the town’s efforts to try to pass such a law.

Smith did agree with Schwartz about the rewording of the ordinance to include radio collars as an appropriate form of restraint. “It seems like an effective way to control dogs to me,” he said, speaking from personal experience with the devices.

Another concerned citizen came forward to encourage the council to move forward with the ordinance, proclaiming that she has had problems with dogs that were off their leashes in the past.

Neely then raised a concern she had with modifying the definition of restraint. “It’s all about control,” she said of the ordinance in question. “We’re changing the definition of control. If we change the definition of control, that roundaboutly changes the meaning of restraint.”

After reading another excerpt from the ordinance, which stated that the determination of whether or not a person was responsible would be dependent upon the temperament and size of their dog, Neely said she didn’t think that was appropriate.

“A 10-year-old may be able to control his malteese or his wienie dog,” Wood said, adding that the situation would be different if the dog were a 90-pound Rottweiler. Overall, Neely said she was in agreement that the town does need a leash law. “I think the leash law is great,” she said. “It just needs to be fixed a little.” Ordinance 423, in regard to the increased penalties for nuisance dogs, was then brought up and questioned by Neely.

“If we leave out the first part … we have no penalty for people who are mean to their animals or neglect them,” Neely said. Wood said that he intentionally left that wording out of the revised ordinance. “I left that out on purpose to clean up this ordinance,” he said. “If there’s not a specified penalty, then everything reverbs to the misdemeanor.”

After bringing up those issues, Smith said that Neely and Wood should work together to make the necessary adjustments to the wording before the final reading of the ordinance at the next council meeting.

In other council news:

• During the department head reports, the Sheriff’s department was not represented.

• Early reported that she picked up six dogs, four of which were claimed. One of those dogs was adopted and one was unclaimed. During the month of August, Early reported collecting $85 in impoundment fees, $15 in licensing fees and $1 in adoption fees. She also reported putting 659 miles on her truck.

• Ron Hanson of Public Works asked the council to approve the purchase of a sewer camera. Hanson said Public Works originally budgeted $50,000 for the device. The bid received was for $38,205, which includes delivery and training, Hanson said. After minimal discussion, the council unanimously approved the budget for Public Works to buy the camera.

• Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie reported no activity involving town codes, which he attributed to heavy workloads, along with the extra attention being put into the revision and adoption of the Town Master Plan. In regard to the high consumption of water in Pinedale, Ninnie said the possibility of leaks should be looked into.

“The high consumption could also be coming from leaks within the town’s mains,” he said. “We really don’t know if the present lines we do have are leaking.” Ninnie said the first step would be to find out if there are leaks and pinpoint their locations.

• Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Administrator Meghan Jacquet said that during the past month, six building permits were issued and $1,000 in water connections and $2,000 in sewer connections were collected. Jacquet also said two items were on September’s P&Z agenda, while next month’s agenda should have about eight items.

• Mayor’s Assistant Lauren McKeever reported the possibility that electric rate increases are on the horizon. Rocky Mountain Power representatives have informed McKeever that the company will keep regional power increases proportional to those who are using it.

McKeever said she also drafted a town newsletter to keep residents and tourists informed of what is happening in Pinedale.

• Pinedale Airport Manager Jim Parker said that construction of the new runway is proceeding. The access road is being constructed and drainage is being installed. “The plan is to complete the access road this fall,” he said.

The airport will also be installing a credit card machine to assist with the landing and overnight fees, Parker said.

• Neely reported the issuance of 30 speeding violations, six of which occurred on side streets, for the first eight months of the year.

• The council voted unanimously to approve the transfer of a restaurant liquor license for the Wrangler Café.

• Jo Crandall approached the council to invite everyone to the Wyoming Arts Summit on Oct. 19-20 in Casper.

• Charles Stough from Rocky Mountain Bank asked the council to approve a request to allow a street closure during the business’ grand opening celebration Oct. 30-Nov. 3. Realizing the bank’s parking lot would not be a sufficient space to erect a tent for the festivities, Stough said he wanted to request that Sublette Avenue, from Pine Street to Hennick Street be closed to allow for a tent to be set up for a barbecue dinner, a carnival and other various activities. Stough said it would be similar to what was done for the Sublette County Visitor’s Center and Chamber of Commerce’s grand opening celebration. One issue that was raised involved the Chamber being a non-profit organization, whereas the bank is a for-profit business. “If it’s open to the public, I don’t see a big red flag,” Town Attorney Ed Wood said. Stough assured the council that the celebration would be a public event.

“It is open to the public and you’re all invited,” he said.

In lieu of stakes to tie down the tent, Stough said water buckets would be used to keep the tent in place.

• Smith said a citizen had approached him in regard to a safety concern with the throwing of candy from floats during parades. He said the citizen thought it would be in the best interest of kids along the street to prohibit that activity and have any kind of candy or prize handed out instead, which was what was done during Rendezvous Days this year. “I can imagine a kid walking out in front of a Shriner’s go-cart [to get thrown candy] and getting clobbered,” Smith said, expressing his agreement with the concerned citizen.

• Several ordinances were read and passed at Monday’s meeting. Ordinance 422 – relating to the modification of the definition of restraint on second reading; ordinance 423 – relating to the enhanced penalty for nuisance dogs within the town limits on second reading; ordinance 424 – relating to the adoption of the Town Master Plan on first reading; ordinance 425 – relating to the terms of P&Z members on first reading; ordinance 426 – relating to the prohibiting of private parties controlling public parking on first reading. The Town Council will hold its next meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 8 at Town Hall.

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