By Naomi Hatch
“What has become obvious, is the issue of regulating kennels is covered by state statute and regulated by the county,” Taylor Town Attorney Karl Lautz advised the town council Nov. 13.
At a previous meeting, kennel owner John Banker requested that the ordinance previously adopted be rescinded and the council voted to do just that. Banker also offered to sit on a committee to come up with an ordinance that did not have legal issues. Lautz was asked to look into a kennel ordinance and last week he asked council members what the intent was when the prior ordinance was adopted in order to get better direction.
“What is it we’re trying to regulate? What are we trying to enforce,” asked Lautz. “The prior kennel ordinance certainly had legal issues that we want to avoid.”
Mayor Fay Hatch asked Snowflake-Taylor Police Chief Jerry VanWinkle to comment on when officers are sent to a kennel to take action, whether it’s neglect or abuse, and also asked if Taylor’s animal control ordinance should be like Snowflake’s.
VanWinkle said that they are the same.
“This particular kennel ordinance came about very quickly and I was not involved,” said the police chief.
“I really think for what we encounter, we have enough ordinances on the books to enforce,” he said. “We have the authority to go onto people’s property, to inspect the animals and if they deny us access, we have other resources.”
“State law says if you don’t have a kennel license you are required to purchase tags,” said the chief. He explained that the town has an ordinance requiring dog owners to purchase tags, but he felt that there could be a price break for a kennel rather than purchasing a tag for each dog.
“We have the welfare of dogs not in just one spot, but dogs in general in Taylor,” said Gus Lundberg, Town Manager. “We do have an ordinance in place and I recommend that we look at getting on the same page as Navajo County regarding kennels.
“If there is anything in that area we need to look at or consider, you can bring it to the council at a future meeting,” Mayor Hatch told Lautz.
In other business, after a brief discussion the council approved a request by Lundberg to give staff an additional four days off this year during the Christmas holidays. Town hall is currently closed Dec. 24 and 25, and Jan. 1, plus the weekend. Lundberg will work the additional four days, keeping town hall open.
Town Clerk Kelly Jones told the council that this is not something staff requested. “Gus was very generous to bring this to the council,” she said. “I think all of us who work here realize that we’re blessed to have the jobs that we have.”
Lundberg and council members said they felt it would be good for morale.
“The morale of the crew we have here has already gone up because of the management of Gus,” said Jones.
The council approved a motion to extend the holidays to town employees with the stipulation that there will be someone on call each day in case they are needed. The motion passed unanimously.
By Naomi Hatch