Monday, April 07, 2008

UPDATED: Dogs and cats and Toledo spending - Oh My!

Included in the proposed 2008 Capital Improvements Budget for the City of Toledo is a dog park in the south end. The cost of the project is $45,000.

UPDATED: City council took $40,000 out of this line item (along with money from the planned mountain bike course) and put it into fixing more roads. Good for them!

However, they left $5,000 in the budget with the hope of leveraging that with private donations to create the planned dog park. Can't they just back off from the idea entirely and let some entrepreneur create one if it's actually needed and can be profitable?


When you consider the financial situation of the city - and the serious needs in terms of our roads, other infrastructures and such essentials as police vehicles, spending ANY money on such "quality of life" projects (the general description for something that is not necessary or would otherwise be described as 'pork') is ridiculous. But that's another story.

My point of contention is the continual catering to dogs and dog owners while ignoring the issues of cats.

In Ohio, counties have dog wardens to handle dogs and certain other types of creatures - but not cats. Because the law is silent on the issue of cats, counties and their dog wardens have no authority when it comes to cats (a quirk of the state law). But that doesn't mean that municipalities can't institute their own laws regarding such felines. And Toledo did.

In 1992, Toledo created a cat law in TMC Chapter 505 which states:

505.16. Registration and identification required.
(a) No person, within the City shall own a cat over six months of age without procuring registration for such cat as provided in this chapter and keeping secured to such cat a cat tag bearing the registration number.

(b) No person, who is the owner of any cat, shall permit or allow such cat to wear any cat tag issued for another cat or a cat tag which has expired.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in this section, application for such registration shall be made annually to the Commissioner and the following information, including presentation of a valid, current rabies certificate showing that the cat has been vaccinated for rabies in accordance with Section 1705.09, shall be furnished:

(1 ) Name, address and work and home phone numbers of the owner or keeper of such cat and the approximate date of ownership or residency, whichever is earlier;

(2) Such description of the cat as may be required for the purpose of identification; and

(3) If applicable, a veterinarian's statement that the cat has been spayed or neutered;

(4) If applicable, information the Commissioner deems necessary to support the nonexpiration provisions of subsection (h) hereof.

(d) The Commissioner shall furnish to the owner, upon payment of the registration fees as hereinafter required, a receipt showing thereon the information described in subsection (c) hereof and a cat tag bearing the registration number which shall be secured to the cat.

(e) No person shall remove or cause to be removed, the unexpired cat tag from any registered cat.

(f) Subject to subsection (h) hereof, fees shall be as follows:

Annual Registration Fee

Each cat that is not spayed or neutered $ 45.00

A cattery permit 100.00

Each cat that is spayed or neutered 10.00

Each replacement for lost unexpired cat tags 1.00 each

(g) The cat registration and cat tag shall remain valid through December 31 of the calendar year in which it is issued, except as provided for in subsection (h) hereof. A five dollar ($5.00) fee for late registrations shall be assessed.

(h) A registration issued for a cat owned by an elderly person or a disabled person shall remain valid throughout the lifetime of the cat or until such elderly or disabled person ceases to own the cat, whichever period ends first. The elderly or disabled person owning such cat shall be responsible to have and keep such cat vaccinated in accordance with Section 1705.09 and shall inform the Commissioner of any change in the information provided to the Commissioner in accordance with subsection (c) hereof.

(i) Whoever violates any provision of this section is guilty of a fourth degree misdemeanor.

(Ord. 558-92. Passed 8-4-92)

505.17. Prohibitions.
(a) Any cat not bearing a valid cat tag, or observed injuring or destroying the real or personal property of someone other than the owner or keeper of the cat, or known to create excessive noise or odor, or observed creating a danger to public health in the opinion of the Commissioner of the Division of Health, is declared to be a public nuisance and shall be impounded by the Animal Control Officer as provided in this chapter, in addition to any penalties which may be imposed upon the appropriate person under Section 505.09(c).

(b) The parent or guardian of any minor claiming ownership of or owning or keeping any cat shall be deemed to be the owner of such cat and shall be charged for all penalties and fees imposed by this chapter.

(c) Whoever violates any provision of this section is guilty of a fourth degree misdemeanor.

(Ord. 558-92. Passed 8-4-92.)
.

The problem is, this law is not enforced.

Having neighbors who believe that cats should be able to roam free (which really isn't safe for them) clearly contributes to my frustration as their cats dig in my garden, use our horseshoe pits as litter boxes, climb our trees and then meow incessantly because they can't figure how to get down, etc...

Phone calls to police with such complaints result in hilarious laughter - okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by much. Police don't come out to take reports when items are stolen because they instruct you to go to a district office and fill out such reports yourself. To expect them to come out because someone else's cat is in your yard - well, you can imagine...

So, Toledo created a law requiring a license for cats, requiring a fee for such licenses and making cats which do damage a public nuisance subject to impoundment. And then they don't enforce the law.

But they can find $45,000 to build a dog park in the south end which is where, coincidentally, the mayor lives.

Perhaps that $45,000 would be better spent enforcing the existing laws before they create something new to be paid for and maintained.

8 comments:

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

As someone who is horribly allergic to cat dander, my desire to see enforcemnt of existing cat laws is more than a call for equal treatment, it is a health issue. In today's PC society, do I not have a "Right" to breathe air free of this pollutant.

..but enough of that kind of thinking.

When will the city tend to its own business? If we need a new or different type of park, is that not the responsibility of the parks department? Is it not likewise their responisibility if we need a walking trail or bike path?

City council gets no credit in this crisis either, as they seem only capable of allowing it to happen while nodding like a bunch of bobble head dolls. The budget is a mess and Emperor Finkbeiner fiddles while Rome burns.

Carol said...

Ahhh - the issue of the dog park.

OK - here is my take on the whole thing. I know Highland Park - very well. And I can say with reasonable certainty that the folks that live in that area don't give two hoots about a dog park. Many dogs in that area run loose - all the time.

Honestly? I envision the bowl of the skate park becoming a fight pit for dog fights. I'm surprised it's not already.

This whole proposal is ludicrous. And as for Carty living in South Toledo? Yes - technically he does. But he's much closer to Maumee and, IMO, would not be caught romping with Scout at a dog park at Highland Park.

I am a dog owner. I am a dog lover. But PLEASE ... don't insult my intelligence with another one of these darned "feel good" projects that is going to waste my tax dollars.

Enlist the help of the metroparks if you just must have a dog park. I would almost bet the farm that folks would not bother to drive to those areas just to watch Fido play. This is not San Diego.

Chad Quigley said...

Oh this is gonna be fun for me. Last year, after the mayor appointed me to the Parks board, we discussed a dog park at each meeting. We went out to sites, we formulated plans, we contacted potential vendors to sponsor such things as poo bags and assist with the costs involved in installing the fence and water lines for fresh water.

The other members of the board and I bantered about the size, location, safety requirements, and all the details of where and how to install a "Dog Park".

Clearly, the "City" has gone well above our plans and the projected costs to come up with needing 45K for this little park. (This smacks of Carty putting his 2 cents in to make it a luxury park.) And I can swear on my life, Highland Park wasn't even in the running for location. Detwiler was at the top of the list last I knew.

The last/best plan the parks Board had was for a 2 section, chain link fenced area(2 sections, 1 for lg and 1 for sm dogs), adjoined and a single fresh water tap for drinking water. The plan called for having the prisons build the tables for the owners to sit at(low cost) materials only, for vendors (who had expressed interest in their names being on the free poo bags as cheap advertising) providing the bags and basically, that was it. 45 thousand is at least 20 thousand too high. Seriously, how much does chain link and 2 water spigots cost? The cost they have projected in the blurget must include some lovely landscaping and lighting or dog trainers.

There were unresolved issues like liability. A dog park means that different dogs will be in the area, together, off leash and we all know that not all dogs get along. Who was going to enforce the cleanup of the dog crap and how much was it going to cost to maintain the area.

A lot of people "walk" their dogs and never clean up the crap, so what makes the City think that these same bad dog owners will not let their dogs defecate on the City property and leave it behind?

Who has liability if a wayward dogie goes ape shit and attacks another dog or person on the City sponsored dog park grounds and injures a person or pet?

The cost factor comes up again in the installation of the water spigots. You and I can hire a local plumber and he would have said lines installed in likely under 2 hours. But, being that it's City Parks, the City must have City Employees on Union wages install the lines and it will most likely take 3 days for 5 people to do this little thing. (Why 5 City laborers? 3 to supervise while propped on shovels, 1 to dig and install and 1 to talk on the phone all day.) This happens on nearly every job site.

This is why as of my last meeting last fall, the "Dog Park" was parked in a not yet mode.

Under the deteriorating finances of the City, this is a huge waste of money. The irony is that I supported the dog park idea, just not at anywhere near this cost and not without the unresolved issues being totally addressed.

Mad Jack said...

45 grand? Money well spent if you ask me. Compare the dog park to Toledo's other projects and you'll see a clear, sharp spike in an otherwise flat line.

Chad Quigley said...

As long as we're on the Site of "Highland Park", why so much money? They are going to fill in the pool anyway, so all they really need to do is divide the fenced pool area and bring up a 1 inch water line from the already existing water supply. Talk about stupid.

Carol said...

Highland Park is not in an area that boasts responsible pet owners. Sorry to sound like a snob, but I lived behind that park for 2 years and I know it's a fact. You can put an evening gown on a baboon, but at midnight ... it's still a baboon.

Now - as for canceling that project and looking to "float the idea" of assessing each homeowner for street repairs ....

Balloons for balloon heads. How appropriate.

Robin said...

I highly doubt Carty would ever take Scout to Highland Park.

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

Obviously someone mixed the Kool Aid improperly yesterday. I hoped that they saved the recipe.

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