LEWISBURG — Village Council debated passing an ordinance intended to protect residents from being attacked by improperly secured dogs during its second bi-monthly meeting Thursday, Sept. 17.
“These incidents are very concerning to me, and I think it best to hear from some of the residents that were involved in these attacks,” Village Manager Jeff Sewert said near the top of Thursday’s meeting.
Debbie Huffman was walking her dog near W. Twin St. and Horn in the village when two pit bulls slipped under the fence surrounding a nearby property and attacked Huffman’s dog, resulting in injuries that required four stitches.
Though her pet was not seriously harmed, Huffman expressed concern for the safety of others.
“My concern is for the community, and for the safety of the community,” she told the assembled council. “At any time these dogs could go under the fence and attack a child walking by, or someone pushing a stroller.”
Local nurse Nikki Chapman had an even more horrifying experience.
“Unlike Mrs. Huffman, my dog is not okay,” Chapman said. “Unlike Mrs. Huffman, my six and four-year-old daughters saw their dog being ripped at and torn apart.”
Two pit bulls entered Chapman’s own yard and attacked her dog on June 9, tearing the dog’s throat open and resulting in a $1,200 veterinary bill. Under the current village ordinance, the animals responsible are considered “at large,” according to Chapman, rather than dangerous or vicious.
“At large means your dog got out,” Chapman said. “It doesn’t mean your dog tore another dog’s throat out.”
In order to be considered dangerous under the current ordinance, according to village solicitor Richard Faber, a dog must actually kill another dog; to be considered vicious, it must seriously hurt or kill a human being.
The owner of the dogs in question received $92 and $116 fines, according to Chapman, but were not ordered to improve their fencing or to pay Huffman or Chapman’s veterinary bills.
“The fencing is a matter that needs to be addressed,” Sewert said. “There’s been nothing done with [the dog owner’s] fence since these incidents happened.”
Sewert vowed to present council with a draft of a revised ordinance by the time of its next meeting Thursday, Oct. 1, and to speak to the homeowners in question in the meantime.
Also during Thursday’s meeting:
Mary Bullen appeared before council to endorse her campaign for county commissioner.
“I’ve been a Preble Countian for most of my life,” Bullen said.
Bullen worked as General Manager of Bullen Ultrasonics until 2006, an experience she said taught her many things about finance, accounting, and strategy.
“I learned a lot about how to run a meeting,” Bullen said. “I bring a lot of passion for Preble County, and for being fair.”
Mayor Marsha Jones had kind words to say about Bullen.
“She’s been a blessing to many people, and we thank her for everything she does for those in need,” Jones said.
Mike Bruns and Susan Laux, of Greenville-based engineering and land surveying company Mote & Associates, urged council to apply for grant and loan funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission. The funds would likely be used to replace above-ground tanks at the village’s water treatment facility, which have a tendency to freeze during the winter. Council voted unanimously to allow Mote to submit the needed application materials on the village’s behalf.
Village council meetings take place the first and third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Lewisburg Community Center, located at 6400 Knapke Ln.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook or Instagram @mproperenglish