Casper City Council Amends Animal Ordinance; Pets Need ‘Direct Supervision’
The Casper City Council will amend a proposed animal control ordinance to clarify concerns about dogs on private property and public safety.
The council at a work session Tuesday grappled with the ordinance brought by Chris Walsh who last fall said Metro Animal Services receives reports of more than one animal bite a day from mostly dogs on other animals and on people.
Last week, the council passed the ordinance on a first reading, and will vote on it for the second reading at its regular meeting next Tuesday.
But people have objected to language that requires them to keep their pets behind fences or tethered in their own yards.
Walsh suggested, and received support from most council members, that the proposal should require owners to have their animals "under direct supervision."
New council member Ken Bates said he still opposes the ordinance and was the only council member against the revision, saying the revised language could mean a dog sitting in an open doorway could lead to an owner being cited because the animal did not appear to be "under direct supervision."
Mayor Charlie Powell said most dogs on the front porch don't pose any danger to anyone, but if an attack occurs, it's too late.
New council member Khrystyn Lutz said the concern is real.
A neighbor on 54th Street said her family dog was sitting behind a screen door with the front door open when a large dog from across the street, Lutz said.
"This dog came off of their yard over their street into their yard and ripped their dog's ear off in front of their four-year-old," she said. "Thank goodness it didn't (go after) their four-year-old."
After the work session, Powell said said the new language will benefit both animal owners and the public.
"It's hard to tell the difference between a dog that's a quote-unquote "good dog" and a dog that's dangerous," Powell said.
"But there was a discussion tonight about maybe we can relax this a little bit and see if we could craft some language that basically says, 'a dog doesn't need to be leashed or behind a fence if it's under direct supervision,'" he said.
What about cats?
"Let's leave that out of the discussion," he said. "I don't know how many cat bites we've had, but it was a pretty small number."