By Wyatt Goolsby
PECOS - Enforcement problems. That's why the Pecos City Council Thursday rejected a no chaining ordinance for dogs. The city seemed to be split over the issue these past few weeks.
To chain or not chain. That was the question for council members in Pecos. Some residents, including the local Humane Society, said neglected dogs is a problem in Pecos, which is why they've pushed for a clearer, stronger law.
"You cannot remove a dog that is chained as long as it has food, water, and shelter," Lori Hughes, with the Humane Society, explained. "Okay, but if you have a no chaining ordinance, than you can remove the dog off the chain. It doesn't have to be vicious, it doesn't have to be starved to death or whatever. You can remove it because it is a threat to the safety of the citizens."
The proposed law would have been zero tolerance against any chaining or tethering dogs. However, some council members, like Cody West, said there are already local and state laws that can help.
"To me it just felt like we had the cart before the horse, so to speak," West said. "I feel like once the community is further educated, once we begin to strictly enforce the laws that we do have, then maybe we can take a look at a tethering ordinance at that time. But I just felt like it's a little early in the game for an ordinance of this nature."
Whichever side of the fence you're on, many agreed at Thursday's meeting that enforcing current laws is the most important issue that needs to be addressed.
Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said police are enforcing the law, but he added he will listen to input from the Council.
"The Council gave me direction to increase the enforcement so I can bring, maybe some police officers in on some off-duty time just to let them target those areas," McKinney said.
Council members said for now this no chaining ordinance is dead, but they will explore the law again in six months. In the meantime, they are planning from now on for regular updates from the Chief of Police on Animal Control issues.