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Crowd gathers to discuss new dog ordinance for Calico Rock

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Talks regarding a stiffer dog ordinance drew crowds and sparked discussion at the Feb. 12 meeting of the Calico Rock City Council.

The interest surrounding the city's dog ordinance is a result of the Dec. 20, 2006 dog attack on 81-year-old Sue Kizzia.

Calico Rock Mayor Ronnie Guthrie presented the council with a list of potential changes he and Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence saw as possibilities to improve the city's existing law. He told the council he would elect a committee to study the information and present a draft of the revised ordinance at the city's March meeting.

"We don't have a bad dog ordinance now; just need to take the ordinance we got now and put more teeth in it," Guthrie said.

"That's right -- if we had responsible dog owners this wouldn't even be an issue," said Alderman Bill Wiseman.

The council discussed a variety of potential changes; however, one that was agreed upon by the entire council was increased costs for dog licensing fees and fines.

"If (the owners) are going to spend the required money to license their dogs, chances are (the owners) are responsible, and they'll probably take good care (of their dogs)," Guthrie said.

"That's right, one place you can always get real is the pocket book," Wiseman said.

Eastside Automotive owner John Lynn asked to address the council after receiving a letter from the city Jan. 9.

The letter, which the council asked to be sent to Lynn at their January meeting, warned Lynn that he had 30 days to clean his property before fines would be issued.

Lynn told the council he reviewed the city ordinance after receiving the letter and did not understand their complaints. He said the ordinance was vague and left much room for interpretation.

"I'm in automotive repairs. The nature of the business is to have cars and car parts on hand," Lynn said in response to the city's concern that the cars were unsightly. "I keep the yard mowed; I keep things clean and organized."

"I think maybe the council's priorities need to be on unsightly residences and not revenue-producing businesses," he said.

The council had no comments or questions for Lynn. Guthrie stood by the letter, saying Lynn must clean his property.

Richard Fisher with the Calico Rock CORE group told the council the organization had recently received a $5,000 grant from General Mills for city revitalization efforts.

Fisher also discussed the possibility of hosting a CORE-sponsored farmer's market in downtown Calico Rock.

Fisher said the market would generate excitement and income to the city by drawing people from other communities.

Guthrie said he would prepare a resolution supporting the CORE effort and present it to the council at their March meeting.

Dean Hudson presented the council with information regarding the renovation of the White River Health Care facility.

Hudson said the expansion would improve the nursing home's abilities to provide for its residents.

He said not only will the new facility be a great attraction to the community, it will also create the potential for approximately 25 new jobs.

Renovation efforts on the health care center are expected to begin in late March or early April, Hudson said.

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