November 19, 2014 Edition

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Vicious dog ordinance to be drafted

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council has been discussing the need for a vicious dog ordinance for several months, and it was the main topic of conversation at November's meeting.

"Pit bull dogs are a real safety issue for the public," Mayor Don House told the council. "A man and a woman were seriously injured when a pit bull attacked them in Stewart Park in June Police officers had to shoot the dog four time before it was subdued."

The question of how long vicious dog owners would have to relocate their dogs if an ordinance is passed will be discussed at a later council meeting.

The possibility of vicious dog owners being required to carry a $100,000 insurance policy after their dog attacks a person or another animal was also part of the discussion. Alderman Boyce Dixon said that would be more of a reactive measure than a proactive one. The objective is to prevent dogs from attacking.

The aldermen also debated if all dogs within the city limits should be registered and how the city would handle mixed-breed dogs that appeared to be pit bulls.

Alderman Dixon made a motion to have city attorney Adam Weeks draft a vicious dog ordinance that would ban pit bulls.

When the council receives a proposed ordinance, they expect to hold three public meetings so the ordinance can be voted on before officially become a city law.

In other business:

  • aldermen learned the city's employee health insurance rates will drop from $530 per employee per month in 2014 to $490 per employee per month in 2015.

  • city employees were informed they will be receiving a Christmas bonus — $125 for full-time employees, $75 for part-time employees and volunteers will get $50.

  • John Strickland, a Laserfiche software representative, spoke to the council about his company's software, which would allow City Clerk/Treasurer Pam Kopp to scan in all city ordinances and records, research and archive them. The initial cost of the software is approximately is approximately $5,000, with an extra fee each year for support and updates.

  • the council began the process of closing the alley between Northeast Third and Northeast Fourth from Hazel Street to Gum Street. A public meeting was scheduled for Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Walnut Ridge City Police Complex for citizens interested in the closing.

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