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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dog ordinance discussed

Thursday, November 1, 2007

An old issue was brought to the forefront of discussion at the regular meeting of the Salem City Council Oct. 25 -- dogs.

The council decided to review other communities' dog ordinances to see what revisions could be made to improve Salem's own law.

They discussed the possibility of outlawing certain breeds of dogs such as pit bulls to be kept within city limits.

Sheila Auten, who lives along Byron Road in Salem, spoke to the council regarding the lax attitude of some of her neighbors who own large, seemingly vicious dogs.

After listening to Auten's concerns, many of the council members voiced similar worries saying that despite the city's dog ordinance, wandering dogs were still a problem within Salem's city limits.

Auten said there are pit bulls and rottweilers which belong to individuals who live near her home that are allowed to roam free and often end up on her own property.

Salem first addressed the issue when an animal ordinance was passed in July 2006.

The original ordinance did not specify one type of pet; it was established to encompass all animals such as cats and dogs that might be found roaming as strays.

Salem's ordinance states it will allow city authorities to fine pet owners if their pet makes excessive noise, causes damage to personal property, scatters refuge, harasses passersby, attacks people or other animals, obstructs traffic or causes any person to reasonably fear bodily injury by attacking or threatening to attack people other than trespassers.

The ordinance also states that a person may kill a domestic pet to end an attack upon a person or another domestic pet or animal.

There are a number of varying dog ordinances throughout the state. Several Arkansas towns including Mammoth Spring, Manila and Van Buren ban breeds of vicious dogs within city limits.

Earlier this year Calico Rock in Izard County revised their city's dog ordinance after an 82-year-old woman was attacked and hospitalized due to an incident that involved multiple dog attacks.

Salem City Council members said proactive action needed to be taken. They agreed something should be done before an actual attack on a Salem resident occurs.

At the time of the current law's approval, Salem Mayor Gary Clayton said the ordinance was a starting point for dealing with the problem of stray animals and that it could be changed in the future.

Now it appears the council might make that change. Members decided to resume the discussion during the November meeting.

In other city council news, council members discussed potential changes to the city's zoning regulations.

Council members received information about potential changes to Salem's zoning rules to review and discuss at the Sept. 20 meeting.

Various members of the council voiced concerns regarding the proposed changes. City Attorney Dwayne Plumlee said the proposed changes could be amended based on the council's decision.

Members voted to continue the discussion into the November meeting.

Clayton said Salem's police car grant was in its final stages and that the city would have a new vehicle within 120 days.

During the various city reports, Salem Police Chief Al Roork said 13 automobile accidents had taken place throughout October. "That's more than double what we usually have," Roork said.

Because of the upcoming holidays, the council voted to change the regular meeting dates of the November and December city council meetings.

In November the Salem City Council will meet one week earlier on Nov. 15, and in December the council will gather on Dec. 13.


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