May 13, 2009

City urged to enact tougher dog ordinances

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

The owners of a dog that was savagely mauled and critically injured by another dog over the Easter weekend in Watford City made an impassioned plea to the Watford City City Council during their meeting on Monday, May 4 for the city to enact stricter dog ordinances.
According to Jean Sanford of Bismarck, she was walking her small dog down a city alley when a  large dog  came rushing out of a yard and attacked her dog.
“I saw this large dog come racing out of the yard and run straight at us,” stated Sanford. “I bent down to pick up my dog when this large dog shot by my face and took my dog into its mouth. It shook its head over and over. My dog, Rusty, was no match.”
During Sanford’s heart-wrenching account of the attack, she related how the owner of the dog as well as the owner’s son were unable to get the animal to release the smaller dog.
“I have no idea how long the attack lasted,” stated Sanford. “The owner of the large dog was hollering and beating on the bigger dog. And then a teenager came and started kicking the back end of the dog and hollering at it to stop.”
According to Sanford, once the attack was broken off, they took their pet to Dr. Nelson who provided them with medicine and advised them to take their animal to their veterinarian in Bismarck as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the animal died at 10:30 a.m. the following day.
“We never dreamed anything like this would happen,” stated Sanford. “Dogs have kennels, they should be in them.”
“The city needs to enact strong animal ordinances,” urged Sanford. “It could have been a child, a grandchild. It could have been me.”
According to Wyatt Voll, city attorney, the dog that attacked the Sanford animal was cited as being at large and as a nuisance and the case will be heard in court on May 12.
According to Neil Schmidt and Lindsay Alexander, who live next door to the dog, they informed the council that they live in constant fear of being attacked.
“I worry that the dog will break its leash,” stated Alexander. “I’m afraid for our dog, our nieces and nephews. I’m afraid to take out the garbage.”
“The dog issue needs to be resolved,” stated Schmidt. “I’m concerned with what is going to happen when we take down the fence that separates our yards.”
While the city council members also expressed their concern over the attack, they noted that until the city’s ordinances are revised there is little that they can do.
“The city ordinances now state that all dogs must be on a leash,” stated Kent Pelton, city mayor. “It is my recommendation that this issue be referred to the ordinance committee and have them bring back a recommendation at the next city council meeting.”
“I want it taken care of,” urged Sanford. “Don’t sit around and study it and study it. Don’t wait until something worse happens.”
In other business, the city council:
•Approved a $500 Roughrider Fund grant to Amanda Willis for a daycare contingent upon her receiving a conditional use permit.
• Approved a $250,000 Roughrider Fund grant to assist in relocating the Healthy Hearts Wellness Center to the former B & H Body Shop building.
• Approved a Conditional Use Permit to Tina Kostad allowing her to operate a home daycare at 309 2nd Ave. NW.
• Approved a request by the Relay For Life Committee to hold a fireworks display at Fridley Field prior to 11 p.m. on May 29. The approval is contingent that there is no fire ban enacted during that time.
•Approved a Special Permit for Larry Larsen to serve alcohol at the Veterans Memorial Building on June 12 from 5  to 10  p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on June 13 for the Larsen/Wahlstrom wedding reception and dance.
•Approved a Special Permit for Ken Sanford and D & M’s Office to serve alcohol at the Veterans Memorial Building on June 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the Sanford/Polivka wedding reception and dance.
•Approved a Special Permit for Callie Wold and D & M’s Office to serve alcohol at the Veterans Memorial Building on Aug. 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the Wold/Thorne wedding reception and dance.
• Approved hiring Patsy Muri for maintenance work at the cemetery.
The next meeting of the Watford City City Council will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 8.