McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

July 12, 2014

Council puts more teeth in dog park rules

McALESTER — McAlester city councilors have put more teeth into rules at the city’s Central Bark dog park, taking a snip at bringing canines to the site that haven’t been spayed or neutered.

City councilors passed the  provision by a 6-to-1 margin during their regular Tuesday night meeting at City Hall — over the objections of Ward 2 Councilor John Titsworth.

The item had been entered on the council agenda only as “Consider and act upon amending Rule No. 7, Chapter 10, Article 1,” by city Community Services Director Mel Priddy.

City administrators had agreed to recommend the council approve the change for the dog park, at the corner of B Street and Seneca Avenue,  after conferring with Partners in Animal Welfare Society, better known as PAWS.

City Manager Pete Stasiak said the city supported requiring all dogs entering the dog park, at the corner of B Street and Seneca Avenue, be spayed or neutered.

“Wouldn’t that be discriminatory?” asked Titsworth. When a few councilors chuckled, Titsworth let them know he wasn’t joking.

“I’m serious,” he said. “Would that be discriminatory?”

“It could become an issue,” Stasiak said.

Titsworth  noted there were already rules in place prohibiting aggressive dogs or female dogs in heat from the park. He also expressed a concern that those who wanted to raise puppies from their dogs would now no longer be able to bring them to the park.

Titsworth wondered what’s next in the way of dog park restrictions.

“Do you come back and say ‘Your dog can’t be over a certain size?’” he asked.

“There’s that possibility sir,” Stasiak replied.

Ward 1  City Councilor Weldon Smith asked if there had been any problems at the dog park.

Stasiak replied by saying “The park’s been open for a short time.”

City councilors then voted to enact the new rules, with “yes” votes from Mayor Steve Harrison, Smith, Ward 3 Councilor Travis Read, Ward 4 Councilor Robert Karr, Ward 5 Councilor Buddy Garvin and Ward 6 Councilor Jason Barnett.

Titsworth cast the lone dissenting vote.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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