City considers defining animal shelters

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — Area resident Charlene Carter approached Gallipolis City Commission Tuesday and utilized privilege of the floor to ask the commission to consider passing an ordinance to set a legal standard for an outside animal’s shelter within municipal limits.

“I’m here tonight as a pet advocate,” said Carter. “In our community, the current code that we have does not define a proper shelter for a pet confined outside. Looking at this, (referring to Ohio Revised Code) it is a state code. From what I understand, other cities then adopt their own conditions acceptable to each community.”

Carter said she researched a definition for an appropriate animal shelter as “solid four walls, appropriate-sized door, floor roof and must not be larger than three to four times the size of the dog (or pet).”

Carter went on to say she felt that at least the area surrounding the animal should be free from standing water and the shelter should be able to allow the animal to contain its own body heat.

“Right now, the current code just basically says a lean-to, vegetation. It doesn’t specify that,” said Carter. “Anything less than that (Carter’s shelter), anything less than that in 30-degree weather is just cruel to the animal. I’m hoping that this commission will consider changing the code. A lot of other surrounding areas in Ohio are doing this now and even limiting the time that a pet can be tied outside in the weather. I’m not asking that we go to that extreme but at least define a proper shelter…”

“Being a pet advocate myself, I wouldn’t mind if we did take a look at something like this and see if we can make some sort of (code). I’ve had to help some unfortunate animals in my day be relocated, rehomed from places where they lived in unsuitable conditions,” said Commissioner Cody Caldwell. “I think it would be worth looking into, some sort of specific animal dwelling.”

“I’ve seen terrible situations in our community,” said Carter.

Commissioner Beau Sang said he agreed. City Solicitor Brynn Noe said that she could look into what other communities about Ohio were doing as far as defining animal shelters.

“Right now, the state code kind of leaves it to the discretion of the officer called,” said Noe. “It requires a shelter to provide an animal shelter from wind, snow, rain, excessive sun, light and if it would be reasonable for the officer to see that it could cause the animal harm. So, it’s pretty open. If you want to define it more, we’re going to have to look into things like timeline for the animal outside… That’s where it could be more difficult for smaller communities to enforce because you’d have to figure out how long the animal has been out there, if there is a shelter and a lot of other things. But I’m happy to look into how other communities…especially similar to our size, how they’re doing that.”

“I’m not asking to keep from having animals outside,” said Carter. “I’m just saying give them a proper shelter and define what a proper shelter is because its kind of open to judgement and that’s not really fair to put the people in authority in those positions either when they don’t have direct law to go by.”

T.J. Pasquale also asked that the commission consider taking a look at a trash compactor placed on city property in the gravel lot across the street from the Gallipolis Municipal Building on Third Avenue. Reportedly, businesses along Second Avenue make use of the equipment there.

Pasquale said he lived next to the lot and requested that city government take a look at the area around the compactor because he claimed he was constantly picking up trash around the site and in his yard. Pasquale showed pictures on his phone of the site to the commissioners.

Commissioners said they would look into the matter and asked Pasquale to send them further photos he had of the site.

City Manager Ted Lozier said that Columbia Gas was considering further projects in the city. Commissioners voiced concern with cuts in the streets due to gas infrastructure replacement and may consider discussing ordinances in the future regarding road repair and replacement.

Gallipolis Police Chief Jeff Boyer said the Gallipolis Police Department had purchased a new Belgian Malinois to serve as a canine unit and that its previous animal had been retired due to training difficulties.

Lozier asked Noe if she could look into legislation if the city was able to engage in a public funds solicitation campaign for municipal pool donations as the facility was in need of a new roof, sand filters and pool coating replacement. The city can commit $45,000 to the pool in the form of grant funding but still needs around another $26,000 to do so. Lozier said the city takes a small loss in funding every year to maintain the pool but does so as a service to the families of the community.

Dean Wright is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.

By Dean Wright