Archive for Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Owner pleads with city for return of Rottweiler

June 2, 2004

Marsha Meyers pleaded last week with city council members, trying to persuade them that her full-blooded Rottweiler, Countess, is not dangerous.

During last Wednesday's city council meeting, Meyers, 211 Green, said that her landlord told her when she moved a year ago to Tonganoxie that Rottweilers were not prohibited in the city.

But city ordinance bans the dogs, along with pit bulls.

"I would like for you guys to change your ordinance to not just Rottweilers and pit bulls, but to any aggressive dog in the city," Meyers said.

She said her 1-year-old dog, which now is boarded outside Tonganoxie, never has been aggressive, adding that her neighbors love Countess.

"I think it's time that we placed the blame where the blame belongs, and that's on the owners of the dog, not on the dogs themselves," Meyers said. ''... We would never bring a dog into a community that would harm anyone."

¢ Tonganoxie resident Marsha Meyers says she didn't realize until just recently that Rottweilers are illegal in town.

¢ She's asked the city council to reconsider its ordinance banning Rottweilers and pit bulls -- asking for a "dangerous dog" law instead.

¢ The city council will consider the issue at its June 14 meeting.

¢ Meanwhile, Countess, Meyers' dog, is banned from Tonganoxie.

Meyers, who offered to have a temperament test performed on her dog, presented council members with a petition signed by 50 people asking to allow Rottweilers within city limits.

Mayor Dave Taylor appeared somewhat swayed by Meyers' arguments.

"I think it's the responsibility of the council and the governing body to look into this a little more," Taylor said.

And council member Kathy Graveman agreed, saying she would like additional information about the aggressiveness of dogs and how other cities address dangerous dogs.

City Administrator Shane Krull said some cities have changed their animal-control ordinances to address dangerous dogs, rather than specific breeds.

"Here, part of the problem is we have is that we don't have full-time animal control," he said.

It's difficult, too, for city officials to determine what constitutes a "dangerous dog."

"I think it gets down to the point that you make a judgment call, in large part," Krull said. "You're dealing with animals. It's not like dealing with a human, where there's some control element. ... It isn't the Lab that mauls somebody's kid out in the street. It's pit bulls. It's Rottweilers."

He said that other cities can more easily enforce "dangerous dog" ordinances than Tonganoxie because they have animal control officers who work regular hours.

"We have an as-called person," Krull said. "You get into the deal if someone deems that dog to be dangerous and the city says it's not dangerous and the dog goes out and bites someone the next day, is the city liable?"

Krull said he would check with other area cities and bring some options to the council for consideration at its next meeting, set for June 14.

"There's no way I can bring her home?" Meyers asked.

"We're bound by law right now," Taylor told the teary-eyed woman. "It's the rule of law."

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