Hillsboro considering new dog ordinance

The Hillsboro City Coun­cil at its March 27 special meeting discussed a potential new ordinance for the city regarding dogs.

City Attorney Josh Boehm said the new ordinance leans toward addressing the behavior of dogs rather than banning a particular breed.

“This is driven by the police department having reoccurring issues regarding dogs—dogs at-large, aggressive dogs and complaints regarding pit bulls,” Boehm said with input from Police Chief Dan Kin­ning.

Boehm said the Kansas League of Municipalities, a nd most cities in the state, are moving away from using breed-specific bans or language.

“(Dog complaints aren’t) something that’s specific to Hillsboro—it’s been going around the last six months or so,” Boehm said. “Dan or another officer has called to ask me half a dozen times or more—and even 20 minutes before this meeting—regarding a dog issue.”

“This (draft) is an attempt to clean some of that (language) up, make it very straightforward, and just organize it better.”

A new ordinance, if approved, would replace ordinances 789 and 891.

Boehm said the proposal he compiled ventures into additional requirements for what are considered dangerous breeds.

“They’re not vicious, they’re not banned—but if you’re going to have this particular animal, you’re going to have more requirements and additional steps, including an increased registration fee, additional proof of liability insurance, things like that.”

Boehm’s draft defines and describes unacceptable dog behaviors such as: dogs running at large; dogs committing disturbance or nuisance; handling of dogs (that are) biting people; and potentially dangerous dogs and vicious dogs.

The draft did list examples of breeds that may display bad behavior: American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staf­fordshire Terrier, Dogo Argen­tine, Cane Corso, Chow, Dogue de Bordeaux, Dober­man Pin­cher, Fila Brasileiro, Ger­man Shep­herd, Perro de Presa Canario, Rottweiler, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and “any dog, whether purebred or mix, that has the appearance and characteristics of any of the breeds listed in the subsection.”

No action was taken on the proposal. The council was encouraged to review the document and prepare to discuss it at the April 3 meeting.

Other business

In other business, the council:

◼ continued the public hearing regarding required repairs on a house owned by Warren Deckert that was damaged by fire in February 2017.

City Attorney Josh Boehm said “significant progress” has been made on the project, and essentially all that remains is to finish painting the exterior.

Attorney Susan Robson, representing the home owners, asked that the completion deadline for the project be extended because of the relatively few warm-weather days this spring to complete the painting process.

The council agreed to extend the deadline to July 17, and stipulated that the public hearing may be ended sooner upon notice from the city building inspector that the repairs have been completed to code satisfaction.

◼ approved changes to city policy No. 20 regarding camper hookups in Memorial Park. At its previous meeting, the council considered changes that would enable construction workers to park at the campsite during construction of a wind farm in northern Marion County.

“(The new policy) doesn’t get rid of the 30-day limit, and it puts Ben (Steketee, city code enforcement officer) in charge and allows him to designate a special event or circumstance,” Boehm said.

“It gives Ben some flexibility to lift (the time limit) for a certain amount of time.”

◼ after hearing from Steve Fast, the city’s museum director, the council approved a bid for repairs at the Schaeffler House.

“We applied for a grant to take care of some critical things on the Schaeffler House with the Heritage Trust Fund from Kansas Historical Society,” Fast said.

“We applied for $90,000, but we got $43,654. But they gave us enough (funds) to do something that I think are emergencies: the foundation at the southwest corner of the house is buckling, and the porch columns are shifting.”

The lower of the two bidders was submitted by Thrasher Base­ment and Foundation Repair of El Dorado at $20,120.

“They’re quite a bit cheaper because it’s what they do, and they know exactly what to do,” Fast said.

Fat said the city will be reimbursed for 80 percent of the cost of repairs once the project is completed.

◼ endorsed a proclamation celebrating 50 years of fair housing in the city of Hillsboro. The Federal Fair Housing Act was signed in 1968.

◼ approved the city’s annual property and liability insurance premium with IMA of Wichita. The cost of the policy rose 5.5 percent from a year ago in part because the state now requires tort liability up to $1 million rather than the previous $500,000.

◼ recessed into a Public Building Commission meeting to approve paying invoices totaling $1,968.32 from Elcon Electric for work completed at the former hospital facility on South Main.

The councilors also approved paying an invoice of $5,479.40 to EBH for engineering services

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