Correspondent

The Public Health and Safety Committee of the Stephenville City Council voted Tuesday to recommend to the full council approval of an ordinance amending Chapter 90, "Animals," of the city's Code of Ordinances.

The original intent of the amendment was to prohibit owners from selling, trading, leasing or giving away any live animal on any roadside, public right or way, commercial parking lot or flea market.

During the July 17 meeting of the committee, concern was expressed about the definition of a dangerous animal in the existing ordinance. At that meeting, the ordinance was referred back to staff for further clarification.

The ordinance, as amended, changes the definitions for "dangerous animal" and "dangerous dog" and provides that "any individual animal which, because of its physical nature and/or vicious propensity, would constitute a danger to human life or property, or any animal that is possessed of tendencies to attack or to injure human beings or other animals."

It also provides that a dangerous animal is one that commits an unprovoked attack on a human being in a place other than an enclosure where the animal is kept.

Committee members also discussed at length an amendment relating to cruel treatment of animals. The ordinance provides that a dog or other animal will not be tethered to a stationary object that could create an unhealthy or dangerous situation to the animal.

The ordinance states that an unhealthy situation includes, but is not limited to use of a tether that weighs more than one-fifth the weight of the animal; use of a tether that is less than 10 feet long; use of a tether that does not prevent the animal from becoming entangled with any obstruction; use of a tether without a collar or harness; use of a tether using a choke-type collar; or use of a tether in such a way that would cause injury or pain to the animal or prohibit the animal's ability to reach shelter, food and/or water.

The committee is recommending removing the proposed provision that prohibited tethering an animal in an area that is not properly fenced to prevent a child from entering the area occupied by the animal.

Mark Murphy proposed amending that portion to read "tethering an unattended animal," but after discussion, the committee voted to recommend approval of the ordinance to the city council with that provision deleted from the ordinance.