The city of Argo held a special called meeting on Tuesday night to consider establishing an animal control ordinance. Though the city is considering the ordinance, nothing has been written officially, and no decisions have been made. The council along with Mayor Paul Jennings said the meeting was called strictly to hear whether the public would like to have an animal ordinance and, if so, how strict citizens would like for it to be.  
Jennings started the meeting by welcoming all who came. He let everyone know that the council was open to all comments and opinions.  Councilwoman Betty Bradley reinforced the mayor’s opening address. “We’re here to get your input,” said Bradley. “We need your opinions to create an ordinance. We have made no decisions though; we’re in the discussion process.”
Jennings then read instructions for how much time each individual would have to speak and asked that no one say anything in malice. He also told the crowd that the consideration of an animal ordinance had been on the table for a while “This is not just a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in Riverside,” said Jennings. 
Jennings also had a few reminders for those in attendance. One was that passing any type of animal control ordinance would cost the city money. And secondly, he wanted everyone to remind everyone that the ordinance is not something that would happen over night. It would be deeply thought out and thoroughly considered before being implemented in Argo.
The first Argo citizen to speak was Leanne Kaja. Kaja said that she firmly supports a leash law. She presented the council with a list of things that she would like to see happen with an animal control ordinance. First, she said that she would like owners to be responsible for their pets. “Without a leash law, nothing works,” said Kaja. She said that she would also like to see some kind of action against owners chaining up their animals. Kaja said that the ordinance, in her opinion, should also include that animals be spade and neutered, and finally the city should hire and animal control, trained individual to enforce the laws put in place. 
Several people from Argo spoke out on the matter. Everyone that spoke at the meeting tended to agree with Kaja’s points, and all were in favor of some type of animal ordinance. 
Two others who spoke on Tuesday night were Argo citizens Ron Young and Steph Brannon. Young and Brannon brought children into the discussion. Young said that free roaming dogs often come up to and scare his children. He said that it has gotten so bad in his neighborhood that his children do not like to walk down the street. Brannon, representing her neighborhood, where children often play freely, also expressed concerns for child safety. She said that she didn’t believe that any of the dogs that walked around the neighborhood were malicious, but she is afraid that the dogs might get frightened and respond by biting the children. “I just want a leash law,” said Brannon. “I just want neighbors to be held accountable for their pets.”
After further discussion on the issue, some brought up concerns that the law under consideration would be too strict. Mayor Jennings assured that any ordinance passed would be fair and would have steps growing in severity depending on the manner of the attack and/or the number of offenses. He said that the current issue is the Alabama leash law. According to this law cities may fine citizens no less than two dollars and no more than $50 for unleashed animals. Jennings said that, with this price, people often just pay the fine and continue allowing their animals to roam freely.
According to Jennings, this is the entire motivation behind setting up an ordinance. He said that he believes putting an ordinance “with some teeth in it” would hold pet owners more accountable. 
Jennings said that he and the council would take all comments and suggestions from Tuesday night’s meeting into consideration. But Tuesday’s meeting will not be the last, according to Jennings. He said that he definitely wants more input from the citizens of Argo, and there may be several more meetings in the future. 
 

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