Members of Hillsboro City Council’s Street and Safety Committee met Monday to discuss revising portions of the city code dealing with animals.
No changes were made at the meeting, but committee members Adam Wilkin, Brandon Leeth and Wendy Culbreath agreed to review the code individually and suggest any possible revisions at the committee’s next meeting.
The discussion was the result of a recent controversy over a proposed zoning code update for the city – its first since the 1960s – that included a limit on household pets within city limits.
As previously reported, the rule limited the amount of animals in Hillsboro households to a total of four, drawing the ire of local pet owners who would be in violation of the rule if it was approved.
The Zoning and Annexation Committee later removed that portion of the code update. Council will hear a third reading on the zoning code update at its regular monthly meeting June 11.
At last month’s council meeting, Hillsboro Planning Commission Chairman Tom Eichinger requested that one of council’s committees review the ordinances. Eichinger said he believes the animal-related ordinances on the books are outdated and ineffective. Council President Pro Tempore Justin Harsha placed the matter in the Street and Safety Committee for further review.
Wilkin, the committee chairman, said on Monday that he believes the ordinances don’t need changed, but enforcement of existing ordinances that deal with animals causing a nuisance or presenting a public danger should be improved.
“I don’t see anything that’s not covered,” Wilkin said. “It just comes back to enforcement… people need to be held accountable.”
Wilkin said the city is set to hire a code enforcement officer soon, and when that happens the committee should emphasize the need for enforcement of animal-related ordinances.
Leeth said the Hillsboro Police Department is normally the agency that takes care of animal-related problems in town since residents often call the police if a situation gets out of hand.
Wilkin said he would meet with Safety and Service Director Mel McKenzie and Hillsboro Police Chief Darrin Goudy to discuss more stringent enforcement policies.
As for the city code, committee members agreed some portions appear to be redundant, and should be cut in order to streamline the code.
The committee will reconvene to compare revision suggestions, Wilkin said.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.