Butler County Times Gazette
  • Commission hears concerns on dogs, ordinances

  • The El Dorado City Commission heard concerns from one resident about ordinances governing where and how animals are kept during their meeting Monday evening.
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  • The El Dorado City Commission heard concerns from one resident about ordinances governing where and how animals are kept during their meeting Monday evening.
    Matt Guthrie talked to the commission, telling them he just moved back to town about eight months ago following a 20-year absence.
    "I had a situation come up with my neighbor I think should be brought to the city's attention," he said.
    He said about six weeks ago there was a commotion outside at the vacant house next door to him at about midnight. There was a young lady out behind the garage chaining up three dogs. She told him her parents owned the house and she was going to leave the two dogs there because she had no other place to leave them.
    "I called the police," Guthrie said, explaining he has run people off from trying to get into the house, which is just used for storage at the time.
    He said the following week he was out of town and received a phone call from his wife telling him one of the dogs had jumped over the fence and hung himself on their side of the fence. He said it was gruesome.
    "With the rules that are set right now with the ordinance, they own the house, even though it's empty, so they can leave these animals there," he said. "I don't think that is right that an animal should be left unattended, chained up to a fence. The dog randomly has food and water. My wife and daughter have both gone out there and fed the dog, watered the dog."
    He said the dog was in an area no bigger than between the tables in the commission room, with overgrown brush and building materials.
    "The ordinances that we have in place right now basically say that you can't mistreat, as long as it has water and food and is not injured or ill, but I think the town that I grew up in nobody does that," he said. "You have a dog, you take care of it; it is a member of the family.
    "I don't know that I would do the same in her boat. I guarantee this isn't the only incident going on in town like this."
    He said he didn't know what it would take to change the ordinance to address this, but he would like to see the city look at it.
    "We have young people who don't have the same standards my parents had, my grandparents had," he said. "As a person that lives next to this scenario, it is heartbreaking."
    Commissioner Nick Badwey clarified that Guthrie’s family had been feeding the dog, then said that was grounds to remove the animals.
    Page 2 of 2 - City Manager Herb Llewellyn said he would talk to staff, but he thought a person couldn't leave a dog chained for any length of time.
    "We need to look at what we have to address the problem, if we have anything and absolutely we can tell you what it would take to make it where you can't do that if that is what you want to do," Llewellyn said.
    Commissioner Bill Young agreed with the concerns.
    "Where I grew up and even today in our home, there is no way our dogs would be treated that way," he said. "I think it's an issue and something that needs to be remedied. I would like to see what it would take to make some changes in the future to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen."
    Julie Clements can be reached at jclements@butlercountytimesgazette.com.
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