Meeting this afternoon may include Sardis dog ordinance 5/13/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Meeting this afternoon may include Sardis dog ordinance

By Rupert Howell

Longtime Sardis resident Boots Still told that town’s board of mayor and aldermen that he was, “A bit confused over the new dog ordinance,” during last week’s monthly meeting.

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Still’s wife had been ticketed for having a dog on a tether in the front yard of their Belmont Street home.

That appearance may have been cause for a special call meeting this afternoon (Tuesday) at 4:30 at City Hall.

Mayor Billy Russell last month put emphasis on current  codes and ordinances being enforced and has staff reviewing current law on the books to determine what needs to be changed, dropped or added, he explained.

“I’ve had a dog on a chain in my front yard probably for the last 35 years,” Still said, explaining, “. . . because we have had things stolen.”

He further explained that the dog’s bark lets family members know when someone is approaching.

Still said it would have “been kind to give notice before you changed the law,” and suggested the law be done away with because, “. . .we need to protect our freedom.”

The current ordinance requires that dogs must be fenced.

Still asked that the charges be dismissed against his wife stating, “My wife really has nothing to do with that dog except to throw him a biscuit every once in a while.”

After Still eloquently explained his case Mayor Russell suggested he tell his wife to go to municipal court and tell the judge, with aldermen explaining that the city board did not have authority to dismiss charges.

Russell explained that the law was not new but an existing law that was being enforced city-wide.

Some of those existing laws may be discussed this afternoon at City Hall on West Lee Street.

“If we are going to have ordinances on the books we need to either enforce them or get them off,” Russell said.

Still asked, “What am I supposed to do about protecting my property?”

Later during last week’s meeting Sardis Police Chief Chris Martin explained that his department had issued warnings to several other pet owners who similarly had dogs chained and noted that others complied with the ordinance.

Last month another resident sought an opinion from the board asking if an “electric fence” would comply with the dog fence law after being ticketed. There was no consensus reached at that meeting.