By Lee Weyhrich
CLAY — The Clay City Council on Monday voted unanimously in favor of a new leash ordinance to help curb the number of loose animals in the area.
“This is based on ordinances throughout the state as well as the county,” City Manager Ronnie Dixon said. “It gives us the ability to enhance the state leash law. With this ordinance on the books it will give us the ability to have our contract deputies the power to enforce this law, as well as our enforcement officers.”
The law will work in conjunction with the city’s controversial “vicious dog ordinance,” which is still being debated and rewritten. However, the leash law is broad, taking into account not just dogs, but cats, “skunks, raccoons, ocelots, foxes, deer, possums, pigs, potbellied pigs and any other domestic or wild animal that are capable of having and transmitting rabies and for which the vaccines are recommended.”
Animals must be vaccinated for rabies. Owners of unvaccinated animals will face a fine of $40.
These animals must also be leashed, kept in a fenced-in yard or kept in the home in order to be compliant with the new law. Failure to do so will result in a $40 fine for a first offense, a $75 fine for the next offense and a court appearance for subsequent offenses. If anyone is found to be releasing another person’s animals they may also face a $40 fine.
Any animals found not to be in compliance could be impounded by animal control.
Jim Little, a resident of the Cosby Lake area, commended the city council on the new ordinance. According to Little, as many as 15 dogs have been seen running loose in his neighborhood at one time and one animal in particular, a pit bull, has charged several people in the neighborhood.
No one spoke out against the ordinance.
As for the city’s vicious dog ordinance, Dixon again repeated that the law is on the books and in effect. Some changes have been proposed, and he and Mayor Charles Webster will be going to court Wednesday to discuss an aspect of the case with a judge.