Alex officials lobby council to update animal ordinance | Local News

ALEXANDRIA — A government official teamed up with an animal rescue organization on Monday to renew pressure on Alexandria City Council to update the animal ordinance, which has since been promised Last year.

Alexandria Building Commissioner Lance Love, who takes numerous complaints calls from residents, and Homer’s Helpers volunteers, told council that unscrupulous ranchers, hoarders and wannabes are flocking to the city ​​because of the weakness of its laws. Some locals come to the city specifically after studying statewide laws and settle in Alexandria because of its weak regulations, Love said.

For example, city officials over the past month have struggled to establish a one-bite ordinance to deal with owners who don’t control their pets. The city has also filed complaints about cat colonies that have grown to as many as 100 felines.

“We were known as Small Town USA. I call it Small Farm USA right now,” Love said. “We get a bad reputation. I feel like we’re chasing our tails.

Alexandria Mayor Todd Naselroad agreed to contact other county-level government officials to see if the city could partner with them and other municipalities to fight what council members said county-wide problem.

Last year, city officials rescued 94 live animals, including pigs, dogs and lizards and found numerous dead animals around the property in the 1500 block of Park Avenue. At that time, Love said, Maleah Stringer of the Animal Welfare League told her that where there is one hoarder, there are many more in the community who have yet to be identified. .

“Every city has this problem, but it’s a smaller, more compact city, so it’s more visible,” he said.

Since then, Love said he found it to be true. He says he knows at least three hoarders, two of whom pick up rabbits. One, who owns around 38 rabbits, claimed he sold them to Rural King in Muncie, but when Love inquired with store management, he said he was told that was not true.

“We inherited this mess because we were so lax for so long,” he said. “It seems like all of a sudden we’re getting an influx of this stuff, and I think it’s because we’re so lax.”

Love suggested the ordinance limit the types of animals allowed within city limits to dogs and cats. However, board members balked at the idea, saying such sweeping changes would cause an uproar among those involved in the backyard poultry movement and 4-H.

“If you say you can have a 4-H pet, what do you open?” he replied.

Ramsey said she has been called for about 13 animal-related situations since Thursday. In one case, she says, a dog was able to come loose three times in a week while the owner was out of state.

“We need an animal control officer, but that’s putting the cart before the horse because we need to have somewhere to put them,” she said. “There’s a story for each of them, and there’s nowhere to go, and no one wants to favor.”

Naselroad said the city could use federal bailout funds to build a facility, but must contract with an engineering firm to conduct a feasibility study. Frustrated, Ramsey pointed out that Homer’s Helpers told the city for a year that the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals each provide this service.

However, Councilor Amy McCurry said she was concerned that while rescue funds could be used for the facility, the services provided might not be sustainable without an understanding of how operations would be funded at the facility. coming.

“It’s like a windfall, but we won’t have that money anymore,” she said.

Ramsey said she thinks running costs could be covered by grants.

“The money is there. You just have to work for it,” she said.

Graham said that despite an animal control ordinance that fails to address some of the specific concerns addressed, there are other ways in which hoarders and breeders can violate laws, including codes of health and safety and zoning laws.

“People are focusing on the animal ordinance. They don’t catch the other stuff.

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