Carson City Board of Supervisors looks at vicious dogs ordinance

The Carson City Board of Supervisors on Thursday took the first step in changing the city’s animal ordinance in regards to vicious dogs.

The changes include adding to the code other animals, not just humans, as capable of being harmed.

The effort to amend the code came after a constituent contacted Supervisor Lori Bagwell after her dog was killed by another, unrestrained dog.

“She found out the dog had killed two other animals, but there was nothing to do because there was no dog-on-dog ordinance,” said Bagwell.

Another change emphasizes the responsibility of dog owners or those in possession of a dog to restrain it and that failing to relinquish a dog determined to be vicious is a misdemeanor and a Category D felony if that dog further causes substantial harm.

“The meat of it is to establish a procedure that will allow judges to make a finding of dangerous or vicious dog and the procedure after that,” said Iris Yowell, deputy district attorney.

That includes the definition of provocation, which the ordinance takes directly from Nevada Revised Statutes.

Supervisor John Barrette said he was concerned that provocation would be hard to determine or judge.

“We did think carefully about this. A judge will be able to make that finding after hearing all the evidence. They can bring in animal services,” said Yowell. “We trust the court to hear the evidence and make that decision.”

And if the defendant disagrees, said Yowell, he or she can appeal the decision and have it heard by another judge.

Fred Voltz spoke during public comment suggesting several edits to the proposed changes.

In the end, the supervisors took one of his suggestions — to microchip dogs the first time they’re picked up by animal services, not the second time — and added invisible fencing to the methods of restraint, edits to be incorporated in the ordinance’s second reading.

The board also decided to support a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Al Kramer, R-Carson City.

Assembly Bill 140 would reset the boundary line with Washoe County and move 22 parcels in the Duck Hill area into Carson City.

The residents there requested the bill.

“Taxes are cheaper in Washoe so this is not an effort to flee Washoe County,” said Kramer, who was there with a half a dozen residents of the area.

“It is primarily because of inadequate emergency services and, secondarily, because we feel more affiliated with Carson City,” said Romaine Gilliland, president, Duck Hill Homeowners Association.

Another homeowner, Debbie Sheltra, said when fellow resident Merl Stewart had a stroke, she waited 27 minutes for an ambulance and was then told to transport Stewart to the hospital herself.

“We’re begging you to take us in,” said Sheltra.

The residents there maintain Duck Hill Road and are on wells and septic so Carson City would not be providing road maintenance or utility service.

The supervisors approved the allocation of $368,516 in 2017 Community Development Block Grant funding as recommended by the Application Review Workgroup.

The funds were split: $35,000 to Ron Wood Family Resource Center’s Reach Up program; $12,000 to Food for Thought for free lunches; $8,277 to Retired & Senior Volunteer Program for its Veterans Volunteers in Partnership; $147,871 to Carson City Public Works for pedestrian improvements; and $91,664 to Carson City Parks, Recreation & Open Space for disability access at Ross Gold Park.

The board didn’t hear an update on ongoing efforts to sell the Ormsby House because the property owners’ representative, Kim Fiegehen, was unable to attend the meeting.

The board approved an 18-month extension on the property’s building permit in September 2016 with the condition exterior improvements be completed by Dec. 15, 2016, and the owners provide updates every six months on their efforts to market the hotel.

The item will be heard at the board’s next meeting, March 16.

At the start of the meeting, Carson City’s new fire chief, Sean Slamon, was introduced by City Manager Nick Marano.

“I’m honored and humbled to have been selected as your next fire chief,” said Slamon, who’s currently fire chief in Modesto, Calif.

He will start in Carson City in early April at a salary of $156,021.22.

In other items, the board reappointed Michael Drews and Robert Darney to the Historic Resources Commission, appointed Stacey Giomi to the 9-1-1 Surcharge Advisory Committee, and approved grant applications for a full-time DUI case manager and to partially fund a Sober 24 program.


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