by BRAD ROLLINS
Less than a month after it was unanimously approved, Mayor Susan Narvaiz said today she wants the city council to suspend a city of San Marcos animal ordinance that some resident oppose as going too far to expand municipal government’s reach.
Narvaiz, who criticized the rules when they were proposed but voted for a pared down version last month, said she is responding to growing discontent over fear that implanted microchips can cause cancer in cats and dogs and, in general, that the rules are unnecessarily intrusive.
“For me, there were so many questions that went unanswered during the consideration process and, being in the minority, some of my colleagues lost interest in asking critical questions. So it went through with the hope that we could clear up alot of the issues through the public information process, this series of meetings. Now we’re hearing alot of the criticism that I think we would have heard earlier if the Animal Shelter Advisory Board had conducted public hearings on these subjects before they recommended it to the council as new law,” Narvaiz said in a telephone interview from Reagan Washington National Airport where she was waiting to return from a National League of Cities conference.
A discussion of the animal ordinance is on the council’s agenda for its regular meeting, rescheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. Narvaiz said she expects the council to be advised by the city attorney on the exact legal action needed to repeal or delay implementation of the animal ordinance, which is set to go in effect April 1.
She said, “To me, I would have no problem doing an about-face and revisiting this ordinance and putting it aside until we have some of these questions cleared up,” a process she said could require the Animal Shelter Advisory Board to hold public hearings.
From the recent outcry over the pet that died during a traffic stop by a San Marcos officer to the public showdown of an ordinance in 2005 requiring dogs be tethered while traveling in the bed of pickup trucks, San Marcos shares a spirited history when it comes to animal issues.
The tethering requirement was included in the original proposal from the shelter advisory board but was deleted from the version approved by the council Dec. 16. In addition, council members adjusted the ordinance to softened a requirement that the owners of impounded animals attend pet owner responsibility classes before their animals are returned, limiting it to cases in which an animal was abused or neglected, or if the animal had been picked up twice previously running loose.
The ordinance, however, still covers a vast swath of regulatory ground, including the mandatory microchipping of dogs and cats; a trap, neuter and release program for feral cats; and more aggressive measures addressing dangerous dogs.Email | Print