City allows use of pet shock collars, sparking opposition from Mitchell residents and several council members – Mitchell Republic

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MITCHELL — Mitchell City Council on Tuesday gave residents the go-ahead to use shock collars on their pets and pets, despite several council members and a former dog owner refusing.

Councilman Dan Allen has dismissed the idea that pets can be kept under control by their owners and handlers with a shock collar. Allen said the city’s previous ordinance that banned shock collars and required leashes instead should be left as is.

“I believe they should all be on a leash. They do not control shock collars. They don’t work,” Allen said. “What we have now works.”

Councilman Steve Rice has backed allowing shock collars on pets within city limits, calling it another way for pet owners to control their pets.

“It is already the case today. I live across the street from a park and I see hundreds of dogs on leash and off leash. Not all leashes work,” Rice said, noting that he’s seen pet owners lose control of their dogs and get knocked down while using retractable leashes. “For me, it’s another check and update.”

After council back and forth on whether to allow remote pet collars within city limits, the eight-person governing body voted a tie 4-4 on the changes the Pet Ordinance. Mayor Bob Everson had to break council’s 4-4 tie to pass the new pet ordinance.

Council members Susan Tjarks, Dan Sabers, John Doescher and Allen voted against changing the ordinance to allow remote collars. Kevin McCardle, Marty Barington, Jeff Smith and Rice were among four council members who voted in favor of changing the ordinance to allow shock collars.

Changing the city’s pet ordinance to allow remote collars came at the behest of Everson, who said the use of shock collars was a gray area in the city’s ordinance. town. Everson previously detailed a 2018 incident he had with a resident who criticized him for running his dog at Mitchell using a shock collar.

Everson noted that former public safety chief Lyndon Overweg informed him that shock collars worn around a pet’s neck are considered by public safety officials to be a leash. Adding the use of remote collars to the order was a move Everson said would bring clarity to a gray area.

While the use of remote collars is permitted with council approval to vary the ordinance, they are prohibited if the animal is in a public gathering with 10 or more people.

Changes to the city’s pet ordinance also deem any pets with shock collars that stray more than 50 feet from their owner or handler to not be under full control. Also, any animal or pet causing non-consensual contact with another person would be considered an adverse action, according to the amended order.

“I fear that my garden will become a toilet”

Bruce Trebil, a Mitchell resident who lives along the Dry Run Creek bike path, objected to the use of shock collars, fearing it would turn his backyard into a “dumpster” for dogs.

Trebil claimed that the city allowing shock collars instead of requiring leashes like the previous ordinance stated would allow dogs much more roaming range, which could ultimately lead to more poop. dog in his garden.

“If you allow the shock collar, they can roam. I’m afraid they’ll start using my garden as a toilet. I also have a back garden, and they would probably pass by,” Trebil said. “There are also a lot of rabbits in this area. I don’t think the shock collar will stop the dog from running after it.

Tjarks shared similar concerns about the ability of shock collars to control a dog, especially a potentially larger and more aggressive dog than others.

“I was in a house with a pit bull last week, and I thought to myself that there was no shock collar in the world that could stop him if he saw another dog he wanted to face. “, said Tjarks.

Responding to Trebil’s concerns, Everson said the city’s pet ordinance currently considers any pet entering another property without the owner’s consent an undesirable action that can result in a penalty. he is caught in the act.

However, Trebil has had difficulty enforcing incidents involving a dog entering an owner’s yard without their consent.

“I called some people, and they’re gone by the time they (the officers) arrive…I end up picking it up,” Trebil said.

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