New Marlinton animal ordinance in works
Marlinton town council is working on a new animal ordinance, intended to make the rules understandable for both residents and law enforcement.
During the February 9 council meeting, town residents asked about the status of the animal ordinance committee, chaired by councilmember Joe Smith.
Smith said work on an updated town ordinance had been postponed until the county adopted its animal ordinance, which was passed in October. The county ordinance does not apply to incorporated municipalities, so, Smith said he would re-convene the committee to begin drafting an updated town ordinance.
The committee consists of Smith, councilmember David Zorn and county animal shelter volunteer manager Cris Weber. Smith said the committee meetings are open to the public and invited town residents to provide input during the planning sessions.
Nelson Hernandez, proprietor of the Old Clark Inn guesthouse, has been an active participant in council and committee meetings. Hernandez provided copies of other local ordinances for the committee to use for comparison purposes. As the proprietor of a guesthouse, Hernandez is particularly interested in an ordinance regulating the nuisance of barking dogs.
The committee met on March 23 to begin drafting a new ordinance for council review. Only committee members and Hernandez attended the meeting.
Among other issues, the committee discussed the need to regulate tethering of dogs and standards for animal enclosures.
The committee is considering various options to regulate dog tethering, including outlawing tethering under the following conditions: when the temperature is higher than 85 degrees or lower than 32 degrees; in such a manner to cause injury to the dog; to a fixed-point chain or stationary object; during the hours of darkness; within 500 feet of a school, or with an animal under six months of age.
The group also discussed standards for animal enclosures. The committee could include ordinance provisions to outlaw any enclosure that does not provide sufficient space, shade or cleanliness.
An update from the animal ordinance committee is expected to be on the council agenda for the regular meeting on April 13. Smith said more public committee meetings would be held to provide for input and discussion.
The date and time for committee meetings will be published at pocahontastimes.com as soon as they are received.