Proposed FD animal law sees change

A dog’s leash will be allowed to be a lot longer under a revised version of a major animal control law being developed by the Fort Dodge City Council.

The previous version allowed a maximum leash length of 6 feet.

The new version allows a leash to be up to 16 feet long, a rule that would allow the use of popular retractable leashes.

Police Chief Tim Carmody said anyone walking a dog would be required to shorten or retract the leash to no more than 6 feet long when approaching another person or animal.

However, a requirement that dog to restrained while on their owner’s property remains in the measure.

Councilman Kim Alstott, who said he likes much of what’s in the proposal, objects to that requirement.

He said 95 percent of dog owners keep their pets on their property, but are faced with a burdensome rule because of the 5 percent of dog owners who do not.

”You’re making a law punishing 95 percent of the people,” he said.

He said he believes the better action would be to impose a stiff fine on those who let their dogs run off of their property.

”It’s over-reaching when the city is telling people what to do with their pets on their own property,” he said.

Councilmen Dave Flattery and Andy Fritz agreed with Alstott.

The first reading of the revised rules passed on a 4-3 vote Monday.

Councilmen Dean Hill, Robert ”Barney” Patterson, Mark Taylor and Don Wilson voted yes. Alstott, Flattery and Fritz voted no.

Other key elements of the proposal include:

  • Updated license fees.
  • A requirement that dog owners make a reasonable effort to clean up the animal’s waste.
  • A maximum number of pet set at six, with a maximum of three dogs.
  • A definition of a dangerous animal as one that has bitten or aggressively attacked without provocation.
  • A definition of a vicious animal as one that has already been declared dangerous, but bites again. Such animals would be barred from the city.
  • A provision making it illegal to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle for more than 15 minutes when the outdoor temperature is higher than 75 degrees.

The measure must be approved twice more to become law.