A public hearing and second and final reading of the ordinance will be heard March 9, Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens said later in Monday’s meeting. The city’s next council meeting set for Feb. 23 has been canceled.
Lenoir City Police Chief and Public Safety Director Don White said between now and the final reading, city officials will tweak the drafted ordinance to include language dealing with chaining dogs and maintaining a database on residents who reportedly abuse animals.
“It gives us as law enforcement the ability to take care of problems,” White said. “And we certainly don’t want to see animals abused or mistreated in any way, and we certainly don’t want viscous animals to possibly get loose or create issues for our residents.”
White said several residents and humane organizations voiced concerns with the first draft.
“One of the things we wanted to look at is we did not have a section that addressed chaining dogs with heavy chains such as logging chains,” White said. “So we want to visit that issue and probably add some language that would cover that because obviously that is not a good treatment of any animal.”
Lenoir City Attorney Jim Scott said in a previous interview that the new policy on deemed “vicious” or potentially dangerous animals gives authority to Lenoir City Judge Terry Vann and law enforcement to swiftly take action should the animal pose an immediate threat to public health and safety.
According to the ordinance, the Lenoir City judge can order the impoundment and destruction of an animal if the animal has attacked, bitten or injured a human being or domestic animal, the animal is vicious and the owner has failed to comply with requirements and conditions for keeping a vicious animal.
White said the amendments will be modeled after other ordinances in surrounding communities.
“We will sit down and look at the ordinance and go back through it and let them (residents and humane organizations) tell us what their thoughts are,” White said. “... I think overall they were pleased with the ordinance. They weren’t disappointed in what the city was doing because they did realize that it is going to help us control bad environments.”