The Odessa Record -

Town Council and Chamber of Commerce

Animal issues dog council members; Chamber

 

August 23, 2018



The last two meetings of the Odessa Town Council on July 26 and August 9 were well attended by several townspeople with concerns about the effectiveness of Odessa’s dog ordinance. Barking dogs, dogs running loose, dogs being allowed by their owners to relieve themselves whenever and wherever they please with no cleanup by the owner were all issues that were brought up as annoyances that neighbors and other townspeople wanted the council to somehow address.

The tone at the two meetings was markedly different however. Whereas the issues raised at the July meeting were met by the council with a sense of impatience and a desire to quickly move on to other things, or so it seemed to this reporter, the August discussion held council members rapt. Although the council itself was rather sparsely represented August 9, with only three members attending and mayor pro tem Kelly Watkins leading the meeting, the incident described was extremely upsetting to all.

The discussion involved a loose dog attacking a leashed dog in an east Odessa neighborhood. A women left her home with her dog on a leash for a morning walk. On reaching a neighbor’s yard, the larger dog, which was unleashed, ran out and clamped down on the other dog. A neighbor came to render aid and managed to get the attacking dog to release its victim. The aggressive dog was a pit bull mix, which prompted some comments on possible breed-specific rules, while others attending the meeting defended the pit bull breed.

There was also general discussion of how to enforce the rules already on the books, of what other communities do or have done and the like. The owners of the two dogs involved have been in polite contact, both families having been utterly horrified by the experience. The pit bull mix had been chained up in its own yard by a child in the family. The child had attached the chain to the dog’s tag ring instead of the more robust ring on its collar meant for securing the animal. It did not take much pressure on the chain for the tag ring to come apart and release the dog. The family that owns the pit bull mix has expressed its intention to build kennel and/or dog run for the animal in order to prevent any such future incidents. In the meantime, the dog is being kept indoors.

Several other people at the meeting told of dogs acting aggressively toward them when they are out walking, with or without another animal on a leash. Mayor pro tem Watkins assured those present that the council will study the issue and consult other towns about handling similar issues.

In other matters discussed at the July meeting, Lise Ott, representing the Old Town Hall Rejuvenation Society, reported that the building’s new roof has been installed and is doing it job. Now that leaks are being prevented, work on interior damage caused by said leaks can commence.

Public works director Rod Webster reported that the water treatment plant had been hit with some kind of chemical of unknown original or composition, killing the bacteria that are meant to break down various components. The result was the creation of a great deal of excess sludge which the crew has now dealt with.

Webster’s attempt to obtain funding to improve water lines in and around the hospital and medical campus was not successful. However, he said that letters from business owners and others affected could sway the governmental agencies in charge of funding to change their minds.

Cemetery committee member and councilwoman Marlene Kramer has developed cemetery rules that will be posted in a conspicuous location at the cemetery.

Lise Ott appeared again at the August meeting to request permission from the council to offer guided tours of the upstairs of the Old Town Hall on Saturday and Sunday and Sunday of Fest weekend. In small groups of four or five led by a person knowledgeable about the building, the tours would be carefully monitored, she said. The council gave tentative approval to her request but also wanted to check their insurance policy first.

Council members accepted grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the state Dept. of Transportation, and work will continue on upgrades at the airport. The road realignment project near the airport has also been completed.

 

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