Archived Story

Tethering on agenda again

Published 7:29pm Saturday, March 16, 2013

A discussion on proposed dog-tethering regulations is once again set to take place during the City Council work session this week.

Some members expected the issue to come to a vote this week, but it was placed on the work session rather than the regular agenda. That didn’t please Councilman Mike Duman, who has pressed for the measure.

“I’m not happy that it’s not on the agenda,” he said Friday. “I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen.”

Council members spent most of their last work session on March 6 discussing the issue. A number of possible regulations were bandied about, including time and weather restrictions.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said during the work session that she favors a complete ban of tethering, which Police Chief Thomas Bennett said would be more easily enforced than a variety of restrictions.

Duman hedged, saying he thinks tethering can be done in a humane fashion — he gave the example of a Driver resident he spoke to who keeps his dog on a 20-foot tether while he is at work, giving the pooch free reign of most of the backyard.

Members were also concerned about the enforceability of the time requirement. Banning tethering for more than a set number of hours would require an animal control officer or other witness to monitor the dog every minute of that time, without so much as a bathroom break, or else the charge could be easily challenged in court.

Duman acknowledged there were several council members who requested more information on the topic at the last work session. He said the issue could be tabled again and moved to the April 3 meeting.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said Friday there’s also a possibility the vote could be placed on this Wednesday’s regular agenda after the work session.

Though rumors of a pro-tethering lobby to council members swirled last week, both Duman and Johnson said they hadn’t heard from anybody who opposed the regulations.

“Nobody that has been an opponent has called me,” Duman said. “The only calls I have received from anyone have been in favor of a tethering ordinance.”

Other topics at Wednesday’s meeting will include a report from the city assessor during the work session and, during the regular meeting, public hearings on the topic of a new Kroger Marketplace in the Hampton Roads Crossing development in North Suffolk.

The work session begins at 5 p.m., followed by the regular session at 7 p.m. Both will be held at 441 Market St.

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  • Mr. Developer

    So the city council is going to use tethering as a distraction to the assessment issue? Let’s also bury it to the work session so less people are there to see it.

    Business as usual, watch this hand so you can’t what this hand is doing. Since this is the same meeting that the assessor gets a 2nd chance at reporting the new assessments. The last presentation was a debacle and was late, yet the council feels it’s OK since all they can do is select a puppet like figurehead for the department. Two assessors in a row with no qualifications to run a department that is the most important revenue generation in the city. Maybe council wants assessors that fumble their way through the assessments…that way the market decline can’t be properly accounted for.

    Suffolk hasn’t had a qualified assessor since 2008. They fired that one and began the trend of hiring people with no assessment background. The employees have lashed out in the department and council still hasn’t done anything. One person that I know in the department says that the human resources department has been holding meetings with the staff to appease them, but that no real changes are coming. Fancy that: lip service from the city manager’s staff to the employees.

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    • chief601

      I guess it is “business as usual”. We have problems in IT, the Assessors office, a council that avoids letting people speak on issues such as the City Manager’s raise and we are going to appease a few “I want to stick my nose in my neighbor’s business” people on tethering? Is it better to let a dog run on a 20 foot tether (and has shelter) than leaving them in the house all day while you work? Maybe it’s the people who don’t work who have time to worry about this.

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      • 4ever cynical

        Apparently even the Virginian-Pilot is involved. Did you see the questions that they asked Mayor Johnson on their live chat last week? Not one mention of the hushed city staffer raises, real estate assessments or where cuts are going to made in the city budget.

        They only asked her the easy questions.

        That is a real lack of journalism integrity. Where is the quest for ground truth?

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