September 19, 2012 - It appears Oxford Township won't be enacting a dog control ordinance after all.
Last week, the township board decided to take no action regarding two proposed ordinances designed to regulate canine behavior.
One dealt exclusively with dogs creating a nuisance or disturbing the peace through noises – such as barking, yelping or howling – that are emitted in a "loud or frequent or habitual" manner.
The other covered a broad range of canine-related issues including noises, dogs running at large, leash requirements, licensing, sanitation and confinement, abandoned or unwanted dogs, reporting found dogs, aggressive or dangerous dogs and dogs biting either people or other canines.
Treasurer Joe Ferrari seemed to be the only official who favored the more comprehensive ordinance. He made a motion for it that received no support.
The others seemed to be leaning toward the language covering barking and other noises, but it appears no one on the board felt strongly enough to make a motion.
Supervisor Bill Dunn noted that normally, he doesn't believe in creating "excessive ordinances," but he can "empathize" with people disturbed by barking dogs because he has some personal experience with the issue. "I am bothered a lot by barking dogs," he said.
Trustee Sue Bellairs said she can empathize as well.
"I understand where it's coming from," she said.
But Bellairs believes "sometimes you have to work that out as neighbors" instead of putting another ordinance on the books.
"I don't think we need to make an ordinance unless there are a lot of complaints," she said. "I saw one complaint."
The whole issue started back in July when a resident approached the board and requested a barking dog ordinance due to excessive noise issues her neighborhood.
Ferrari noted he's heard others complain, particularly when people come in to the township office to pay their property tax bills.
Trustee Mike Spisz thought the proposed barking dog ordinance lacked any objective method or criteria to determine whether or not an animal's noises were creating a nuisance.
"There's really nothing concrete in here other than subjective opinion," he said. "Anybody could call about a barking dog and it's really going to be up to the officer's discretion at that point."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.