Galesburg Considering Animal Control Ordinance Changes - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Galesburg Considering Animal Control Ordinance Changes

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The city of Galesburg has taken another step forward with plans to change its animal control ordinance. The ordinance was discussed during a first reading during the city council meeting Monday night.

There is a long list of proposed amendments to the section of municipal code that covers animal control. (Click here to read them)

A few of the big ones include limiting the length of leashes to only six feet in public, limiting the length if time a dog can be tethered outside to only six hours, and changing the definition of an at-large animal, which would require dogs be fenced in, tethered, or otherwise confined to prevent them from roaming free -- even on private property.

"It prevents a situation where you, as a citizen, are walking down the street, minding your own business, and then a dog that happens to be on the property acts territorial and runs out at you in an aggressive way," Jeremy Karlin, 7th Ward Alderman for the city of Galesburg, explained.

Karlin says aggressive dogs on the loose are an issue Galesburg, and have been for a while.

He says the proposed amendments to the city's animal control ordinance would go along way in addressing the problem, ensuring better public safety for the citizens, and better treatment of animals to prevent aggressive behavior in the first place:

"We are trying to cure, fix the causes, not just address the symptoms," he said.

The proposed changes include many of the recommendations made by the Galesburg Animal Control Working group, a task force formed to look at the city ordinances after a young boy, Ryan Maxwell, was killed in a dog attack earlier this year.

Karlin was chair of that Working Group, and he says there is no way to know whether the changes that could be coming to the rules now would have changed anything about that tragic situation.

"We were trying to address all of the situations that we see in the community," Karlin explained.

Dog owners we talked to say they are glad the city is taking a look at its rules, and tell us they support the changes to the at-large animal definition that would keep dogs from leaving their yards.

Third Ward Alderman Russell Fleming disagrees:

"It is just not right to be able to violate an ordinance because you have a dog your own property, under your control, until it goes across the border of your property. At that time it should be a violation, but not until," he said.

Monday night's discussion was just the first reading of this ordinance.

City council will vote whether to approve it and put it on the books at its next regular meeting in two weeks.

City council will also vote whether to approve a new master fee schedule at that meeting two weeks from now.

The proposed increases, discussed during a first reading on Monday, could have city residents paying more for many city services, including water and refuse.

City leaders say the fee hikes are needed so that what people pay for services actually covers the cost of providing them.

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