Thursday, December 25, 2008
Dog rules prompt gripes
By SUE WATSON
Now that Marshall County has an officially adopted dog ordinance, zoning director Conway Moore said complaints are coming in.
“Supervisors are getting a lot of calls, too,” she said, especially in some districts.
Sheriff Kenny Dickerson, whose office is responsible for writing citations for dangerous dogs on the loose, told supervisors two weeks ago that his dog catcher gets lots of calls from those who say their neighbor has a vicious dog, only to find when he arrives that the dog is not creating a danger.
“When you get out there, you can put the dog in your pocket,” Dickerson said.
Supervisors suggested the dog catcher start writing citations on the first call since it takes three tickets before a complaint on a dog lands its owner up in justice court.
“It is best to go ahead and pick (vicious) dogs up and go through the five-day waiting period (at the pound), rather than going back and forth if the dog is truly vicious,” he said.
Supervisors then turned their attention to an old problem - persons moving a burned out or damaged mobile home on their property before getting authorization to move it.
Moore said cases of badly damaged mobile homes that were moved onto land without authorization are causing problems at zoning.
In one case, Moore recommended to the zoning board to send out letters ordering the removal of a badly damaged mobile home while zoning wanted to extend the owner a special exception.
The special exception authorizes the owner to restore the mobile home within a fixed period of time or else move it off the land, she said.
Supervisor Keith Taylor said he does not think zoning should hear such requests for special exceptions when the trailers are damaged so severely.
“The owners argue they can fix them, but they (the trailers) are being left months with no activity,” said Moore.
Supervisor Willie Flemon agreed with Taylor.
“I think zoning should enforce the laws,” he said, “and not allow people to move them first to land and then ask for a special exception.”
“The board agreed to let them go through the exception process,” Moore said.
“That just opens up the door for anyone who has a spot of land and who wants to buy a burned-out trailer, fix it up and rent it out,” said Taylor.
Moore said zoning regulations require the buyer of such a trailer to come first to zoning and fill out an authorization sheet. Zoning then has a chance to look at the property and authorize the buyer to bring it in to their lot. Inspections start from there on, she said.
The authorization would allow a buyer six months to restore the structure, she said.
With that, supervisor George Zinn III made a motion that zoning be required to uphold its laws on the books. The motion passed unanimously.
Taylor then brought up a problem in his district at Barton Heights where a homeowner had a tenant who moved out and left furniture and other household debris in the yard.
Even after a dumpster had been brought to the site, nothing had been picked up and put in it, he said.
“Stuff scatters and is blowing in the wind,” he said.
Board attorney Kent Smith said the board could issue a criminal citation.
Taylor urged the board to send a letter to the homeowner and advertise for a cleanup of the debris quickly.
“This is not heavy stuff,” said Moore. “The county could pick it up.”
Taylor said he didn’t want the county involved because is some personal items are thrown away, the county could be sued.
“I would want to advertise and everything falls back on (the contractor),” he said.
In other business, the board:
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