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Lack of support kills two Cowan vicious dog ordinaces

Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 8:09 pm


Siberian Huskies, like this one, would have fallen under the umbrella of one

of Cowan’s two proposed vicious dog ordinances.


With Mayor Joyce Brown absent, the Cowan City Council opted Tuesday not to support a breed-specific vicious dog ordinance and another to ban new pit bulls from being allowed in the city.

Both measures died because they did not make it to a vote with no motion to support them.

The board discussed the vicious dog ordinances during a work session Monday with differences aired about how residents might interpret the legislation.

The board had previously approved a first ordinance reading to meet city charter requirements so that it could consider the issue further. Tuesday’s action would have been a second and final vote.

One ordinance was breed-specific for species other than pit bulls while the second version specifically targeted pit bulls.

The pit bull version would have allowed a grandfather clause where current owners in Cowan could keep their dogs under strict rules. However, the ordinance would have prohibited any new pit bull dogs from being allowed in the community.

Amid the differences being aired, Councilman Mark Ledbetter said if no board member motioned to adopt the new ordinances, they would die for lack of support.

Councilman Anthony Ingle said Cowan already has an ordinance to manage dogs and cats, but it hasn’t been enforced. He added that if it were enforced, it would probably work in most Cowan residents’ best interests.

The breed-specific ordinance listed German Shepherds, Presa Canarios, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas, Wolf-hybrids, Mastiffs, Can Corsos, Great Danes, Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies. It listed registration, fencing, leash and muzzle, confinement and insurance requirements.

Councilman Chuck Stines questioned why Great Pyrenees weren’t on the list because behavioral problems have also occurred with that species, and it’s all about how owners raise their dogs. Stines also stressed that if the law that’s in place serves the same purpose as the proposed ordinances, then there is no need to adopt them.

Ledbetter said the city was advised by the University of Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service that it would have to pass the breed-specific ordinance before moving on to further pit bull restrictions.

In other news, Stines updated the board on preparations for Cowan’s annual Christmas Parade. It is scheduled for Dec. 2. This will be the 53rd year of the event. Anybody is welcome to participate. See the Herald Chronicle Friday edition for more details on the council’s actions.