By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald
An ordinance requiring owners to implant microchips in their dogs, cats and ferrets will go back to the drawing board after failing to make it to the Killeen City Council's regular meeting Tuesday at City Hall.
The item was pulled from the meeting agenda after several council members expressed disagreement with the ordinance in a pre-council workshop.
Councilman Larry Cole and resident George Fox, both members of the Animal Advisory Committee, spoke in favor of the ordinance.
"There's some fixes that possibly can be made that make this more voluntary than mandatory and we would just like to be of one mind and one body whenever and ordinance is passed," Cole said after the meeting. "There were some good suggestions made in the workshop and we decided it would maybe be best to ... go back and look and discuss it a bit more."
During the workshop, Councilman Ernest Wilkerson said the ordinance was going too far by forcing pet owners to implant microchips into their pets and said he'd favor educating the public about the benefits of microchips to increase voluntary compliance instead.
"I think educating the public will get you the same effects you're looking for," he said, referring to the effect of animal control being able to identify more pets to reduce euthanasia numbers.
Councilman Kenny Wells said he couldn't support an ordinance that's impossible to enforce.
"Generally, it will be a voluntary compliance," Wells said. "There will be no enforcement unless the dog is picked up."
Councilman Juan Rivera, who expressed concern about the fines for pet owners who don't comply, said he was behind the microchips.
"Five-hundred dollars is a lot of money for a fine," Rivera said.
City Attorney Kathy Davis said the council could set lower fines.
The ordinance will have to wait until at least January before it can be retooled and brought back before the council, because it will have to make it back through Animal Advisory Committee, Cole said.
The city plans to purchase about $1.1 million worth of vehicles for the solid waste division and water-sewer sanitary divisions after the council approved its consent agenda.
The Water-Sewer Division will get a requested $94,803 dump truck and a $181,570 camera truck. Meanwhile, the Solid Waste Division will get a requested automated side-loader truck, one front loading truck, one roll-off truck and one curb sorter truck, totaling about $829,600.
Poinsettias and Santa hats filled the council chamber as about 75 residents attended the meeting, many of whom were present to accept awards given out by the Celebrate Killeen for its annual People's Choice Outdoor Lighting Contest.
Allowed to vote online, residents selected Carl and Teresa Barnes for first place, Troy and Keaslia Emilson for second place and David Reed for third place.
Contact Anthony Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.