The Henderson Board of Commissioners will look at proposed changes to city laws pertaining to dogs running loose in public spaces and an owner’s responsibility to clean up dog feces.
In the city code of ordinances, Sec. 6-26 says that a dog must be kept under control either by being kept within an enclosed space, by being leashed or by being “under the immediate control” of a person.
“Under immediate control” is the phrasing that Parks and Recreation Director Trace Stevens wants to take a look at.
According to the current ordinance language, “under immediate control” is defined as the power to manage and direct the dog and doesn’t necessarily mean to be under physical control, Stevens said.
He said there have been problems, especially in city parks, where dogs are let running loose. Some owners claim that they have control over their dog—“He comes when I call,” Stevens said.
But in some instances that may not be an accurate representation, Stevens said.
And some dog owners have told staff members that they have no way to make them leash their dogs because it’s not in the ordinance.
Stevens said both Paducah and Hopkinsville have laws that require dogs be leashed in public areas. There are exclusions for dog parks and certified service animals in those laws in those cities, Stevens said.
“Right now we don’t have a leash law?” Commissioner Rodney Thomas said at the Jan. 23 meeting. Then later, he asked if it is legal to have two pit bulls walking down the street unleashed.
Stevens said they can be off-leash with an owner who claims the dogs are under control.
In a separate piece to laws pertaining to dogs, Stevens spoke about requiring dog owners to clean up their pet’s feces. Currently, the city doesn’t require dog owners to clean up dog feces, Stevens said. Again, both Paducah and Hopkinsville have laws requiring owners to do this, he said.
“Our staff really wanted to bring this to the attention of the commission,” Stevens said of both of the difficulties involving dogs.
The commissioners gave approval for Stevens to write changes and present them to the commission at a later meeting.