• July 22, 2014

Animal control top priority for council

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Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2009 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:09 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Alicia Lacy

The Cove Herald

During Tuesday's Copperas Cove City Council meeting, confusion arose regarding changes made to an ordinance amending Chapter 3 of the Code of Ordinances, which involves animal control.

Place 5 City Councilman Bill Stephens expressed concerns about checks and balances when the city manager's designee, a city employee, makes the determination of a dangerous animal.

"I don't see anything in here for checks and balances. We have one personnel that's making the determination of a dangerous animal and he can determine that it could be put down right then," Stephens said, later describing himself as a dog-friendly person.

"He can determine right then that that's a dangerous animal and his next recourse is to pay a court cost to take it up to the judge," Stephens said. "That places a lot of responsibility on a city employee without any checks and balances."

In response, City Attorney Miguel Matos said no changes have been made in that area of the ordinance.

"There were really no changes in the check and balances portion of the ordinance, but a shifting in responsibility from one person to another," Matos said. "A check and balance portion comes in with the right to appeal."

"The designee will be the deputy chief of police, Mike Heintzelman," City Manager Andrea Gardner said. "He has a supervisor, his supervisor has a supervisor, so there are individuals that will have an opportunity to provide the checks and balances you are talking about."

One of the biggest changes in the ordinance was a change in verbiage from "dangerous dog" to "dangerous animal" to provide uniformity.

"They're minor changes, but if you notice throughout the ordinance, it says 'dangerous dog' and another section says 'dangerous animal,' so I wanted to clean that up so it would say 'dangerous animal' every time," Gardner said.

In other business, the council approved Place 7 councilman Frank Seffrood as mayor pro tem. Place 1 councilwoman Cheryl Meredith nominated Seffrood for the position. Without any objections, Seffrood was named to the post for one year's time.

Contact Alicia Lacy at alacy@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476.

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