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City clarifies vicious animal ordinances

Park Hills City Council clarified vicious animal ordinances Tuesday night during the regular monthly meeting in city hall.

The five councilmen at the meeting unanimously approved the amended ordinance. Absent were councilmen Mike Glore and Tracy McRaven of Ward I, and Terry Barnett of Ward IV.

The ordinance makes clear a dog or cat would not be declared vicious unless it had bitten, scratched, clawed or otherwise attacked a person, dog or cat two times without unreasonable provocation. A police report or court appearance is not necessarily required for both attacks. Evidence of a past attack is admissible as evidence, as is the conduct of the victim.

The owner of a vicious dog or cat is responsible for keeping that animal restrained from running at large in the city at any time.  It is a misdemeanor if an owner allows a vicious cat or dog on public property, on another person’s property, or on the owner’s property where others have right of access. That is the case even if the animal is restrained or if the owner made unsuccessful efforts to restrain the animal within a permitted area.

Any animal declared vicious that again bites, claws, scratches or in any other way attacks a person, cat or dog without unreasonable provocation will be seized by the animal control officer and quarantined at the owner’s expense until the case is heard in Municipal Court. If the animal was guilty of the attack, it will be killed.

The amended bill also adds a section that requires female dogs and cats in heat to be confined to prevent contact with other dogs or cats except in the cases of intentional breeding purposes. Animals in heat found at large will be impounded and may be redeemed only by order of the municipal judge.

The council also voted 5-0 to approve expenditure of up to $8,000 for the purchase of a heavy duty, low-boy trailer to use to move the crawler (a bulldozer that moves on tracks) and other equipment. Public works director Donnie Akers found a used 1997 trailer, 24 feet long and in good condition for $8,000. Prices for a similar trailer bought new would cost approximately $14,000.

Currently, the city pays a company about $150 each time it needs to move the crawler — sometimes each way — City Administrator John Kennedy said. The city also often has to wait until the company has the time and equipment to make the move. That has resulted in scheduling problems or using a backhoe for the job that would be completed more easily with the crawler.

Purchase of a trailer will allow the city departments to move the crawler whenever necessary. It also can be used to move other equipment, city Christmas trees, concrete forms and other items. Heavy equipment also could be moved to and from repair shops in a more timely manner.

Cost will be split among the three departments. The suggested plan for sharing the cost would have the street and water departments each paying 40 percent and the parks department paying 20 percent.

The council agreed to put up for bid a project to replace 300 feet of a drainage ditch on Gumbo Street that had collapsed in several places as the result of the May 8 flooding. Councilmen voted 5-0 to replace the ditch with a concrete floor and walls for an estimated cost of just under $57,000.

The council decided against repair with a corrugated metal pipe that would cost more than $35,000 for materials and labor.

“We want to do it right,” Kennedy suggested. “We don’t want to have to do it again.”

In other business, the council also approved reappointment of Kelly Valle and Harold Nelson to four year terms on the city’s planning and zoning commission and agreed to move the Nov. 10 meeting to Nov. 17 to accommodate Kennedy’s vacation plans.

Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at pbarr@dailyjournalonline.com.

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