Waterloo to update dog ordinance - The Courier: Local

Waterloo to update dog ordinance - The Courier: Local

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Waterloo to update dog ordinance

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Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 10:38 am

On the heels of the Watertown Common Council action, the city of Waterloo plans to amend its vicious dog ordinance.

Last month, the city of Watertown revised its dog ordinance and approved stricter restrictions on dogs that are deemed vicious. The city removed all of the breed specific legislation so that pit bulls are not automatically considered vicious. The city also increased the fines for people who do not register their dogs or let them run free.

Alderwoman Laura Cotting raised the issue of amending the vicious dog ordinance during the city’s public safety and health committee meeting Oct. 3.

The dog ordinance is breed specific and the idea is the owners of these breeds do not appreciate it, she told the committee.

Waterloo Police Chief Tim Thomas told committee members there would be no problem removing that section of the ordinance. Following a lengthy discussion, Thomas agreed to review the entire ordinance.

The city’s vicious dog ordinance was created in 1996, Thomas said. An amendment to remove the pit bull breed is easy, but he suggested considering other changes to the ordinance.

Resident Seth Whitney said he has lived in the city since 1989 and was not aware of the ordinance specifying pit bulls. Whitney, who owns a pit bull, said, “They are good, household dogs.  This just does not need to be here,” he added.

Alderman and committee member Dale Van Holten said sometimes it is the owners and not the dogs that are a problem. “I have no problem to amend to no specific breed,” he said.

“Do we want to address the leash law?” the police chief asked. The ordinance states dogs must be under control. He sought input about the leash law from the group. The committee discussed requiring a leash on and off personal property unless there is a fence.

Thomas said he does not want to weaken the city’s ordinance, but would like to consider incorporating some of Watertown’s dog regulations in Waterloo’s ordinance. The chief said he would prepare a draft of the ordinance for the next public safety and health committee meeting.

Other business

Alderwoman and committee member Lyndsey Reynolds presented pictures of her property that was sprayed by the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad to maintain weeds. She said in the 4 ½ years of living on the property, she had never encountered the spray killing so much vegetation along the tracks. “I am concerned about the creek to the Maunesha,” she said.

She also voiced concern that there was no public notice about the spraying. “I know there is no way to stop them from spraying, but at least warn the public they are going to do it,” she said.

The railroad has a 100 foot right-of-way from the tracks. “The area that was sprayed was within the right-of-way,” Thomas said.

The police chief agreed to ask the railroad company for a notice prior to the next spraying.

Took no action for a model airplane ordinance prohibiting gas-powered motors. The chief said in his 40 years he has not had a complaint about the airplanes.

Approved no parking on the south side of Taylor Street, 145 feet east of its intersection with Harrison Street.

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