COVINGTON — Covington Council approved a new ordinance Monday evening that will hold owners of vicious dogs accountable for their dogs’ actions with criminal charges.
Prior to the council voting on the measure, resident Jack Young spoke during public comment about an incident he experienced with a pair of local dogs.
“I was attacked by two of my neighbors’ dogs on Saturday, Sept. 16,” Young said. Young noted that one dog was a German Shepherd and the other was a pit bull. Young also thanked the 9-1-1 dispatch, Covington police officer Steve Blei, and Covington Rescue squad for their quick response that evening.
Young then called for tougher laws on vicious dogs, saying that the ordinance the council approved that evening was not enough.
“I appreciate the city council’s going to enact a vicious dog ordinance, but from what I’m hearing, it falls short on certain items, such as the fence around the property,” Young said.
Mayor Ed McCord later said that he had not thought about considerations of fence height, but Covington Chief of Police Lee Harmon and Village Administrator Mike Busse later noted that this ordinance is in reference to the behavior of the dogs and not necessarily the environment in which the dogs live.
The neighbors in question are reportedly renting their home and are not the property owners. Harmon later noted that he spoke with the property owner to warn them that the Covington Police Department planned on holding the owner accountable for the dogs’ behavior as well for any future incidents. Harmon said he had not seen the dogs outside since that discussion with the property owner, but Young said that the pit bull was “out and about” and that the fence gate had been open all week.
“My wife and I do not feel safe on my own property,” Young said, adding that family members do not visit him and his wife in fear of the dogs. “I’ve got a can of mace, corn knife,and a 20-gauge shotgun sitting (by) my back door. If the city can’t protect my family, I’m going to.”
McCord thanked Young for coming to speak before the council, saying, “We were all very concerned with the issue you’ve had up there.” McCord added that the vicious dogs ordinance is a “starting point” for the village.
Busse said that the ordinance showed that the village “shared some of your concerns,” adding, “We feel like, at minimum, this is a good first step.”
The ordinance will charge owners of vicious dogs with a third-degree misdemeanor criminal violation if their dog does one of the following:
• While outside the premises of the owner of the dog, the dog chased, without provocation, any human being and has bitten or attempted to bite such person.
• While outside the premises of the owner of the dog, the dog has killed or seriously injured any other domestic animal owned by another, including dogs or cats.
The ordinance also allows the village to pursue having the dog euthanized if it is deemed necessary. It states that, once the dog owner has been convicted in court of the violation, the village “may seek a court order to terminate the dog.”
Village to pursue streets levy
Also during their meeting, the council approved sending a request to the auditor’s office to certify amounts of a proposed 3-mill, five-year levy.
“This proposed levy would be used to partially fund out street resurfacing projects over the next five years,” Busse said.
The village recently contracted with Midwest Pavement Analysis to have a study of the current street conditions. The report identified $2,139,154 of current needs for street maintenance.
Busse estimated that the levy would generate approximately $124,000 a year. A home valuation of $75,000 would pay $39.38 per half or approximately 22 cents per day. A home valuation of $100,000 would pay $52.50 per half or approximately 29 cents per day.
A proposed resurfacing street list included:
• Wenrick in 2018 from Troy Pike to Spring Street
• Wenrick in 2019 from Spring Street to Broadway
• Larry in 2020 from Chestnut to Broadway
• Richeson in 2020 from Chestnut to Broadway
• Sharon in 2020 from Chestnut to Broadway
• High Street in 2021 from Broadway to Troy Pike and Broadway to Ingle Road
• Main Street in 2022 from Bridge Street to Broadway
• Mote Drive in 2023 from High Street to Troy Pike
• Dick Minnich in 2023 from Mote Drive to new pavement
There has been no alley resurfacing done in the last seven years due to budget shortfalls. Covington currently has no dedicated levy for street maintenance.
Other legislation approved
Later during their meeting, the council approved a zoning change for 228 N. Pearl St., which changed the zoning designation from office space use to single family residential. The current owner of the property asked for the zoning change so he could sell the property. The zoning change was approved after a public hearing was held during the meeting.
The council also approved the purchase of 58 water meters from Buckeye State Pipe at a cost of approximately $12,018. The village has approximately 120 water meters left to replace. They hope to complete this five-year project early next year.
The council also heard the first readings of ordinances that would give village employees a 2 percent raise.
Lastly, the council had a discussion on entering into a water tower maintenance agreement with Suez for the village’s large water tower. Busse proposed that the village enter into an 11-year contract with Suez in January.
The cost for the first year would be $1,500; for the second year through the fifth year would be $60,000 annually; for the sixth year through the tenth year would be $113,552; and the last year of the contract would cost $35,771. Annual adjustments after the end of that contract would be a maximum increase of 5 percent.
The village is currently two years into the seven-year contract with Suez for full maintenance on the village’s small water tower. For comparison, the cost of maintenance on the small tower is $73,017 annually for the first six years and then $29,017 for the seventh year.
“That’s the best condition that tank has been in in 30 years,” Busse said about the small water tower.
In regard to the large tower, Busse said that the outside of the tank needs to go down to bare metal before it can be repainted, which would require a curtain to be up in order to prevent paint chips from falling around the school and neighboring homes.
The maintenance agreement would be all-inclusive, Busse said.
“You don’t have any of the liability,” Busse said, noting that Suez would be responsible for inspecting the tank and making sure that the paint jobs and work done on the inside of the tanks were completed correctly.
In regard to the contract costs, council member Bud Weer said, “That is a lot cheaper than a new tank.”
No action was taken in regard to a possible water tower maintenance agreement.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336