Dog’s Dangerous Status Upheld by Hannibal City Council–Update
(Hannibal)—The contentious issues surrounding a dangerous dog came before the Hannibal City Council tonight.
POST COUNCIL MEETING UPDATE:
(Hannibal)--David and Christy Taylor of Hannibal describe their dog "Moose" as a valued member of the family. The Taylors told the Hannibal City Council Tuesday night they are moving outside the city into Ralls County, due to Postal Service and City of Hannibal allegations regarding aggressive behavior by the pit bull.
David Taylor told the council his only objective now was to clear Moose's name, and if anyone was dangerous, it was the owners and not the dog. Christy Taylor told the council, "I would be more likely to bite than the dog would." David Taylor said the City Manager and Police Chief should have met Moose before issuing their dangerous dog ruling.
But Animal Control officers Bobby Stout and Tim Ledbetter both indicated Moose has the potential for aggressive behavior. Ledbetter stated he felt "Moose could take a piece out of you if the owners were not present."
Police Chief Lyndell Davis went to the podium, stating for clarity's sake, just because the dog has not yet bitten anyone, the Dangerous Dog Declaration still applies. Davis said Moose has committed repeated acts of aggression, established by not just the Postal Service, but numerous neighbors in the College Avenue Ave. where the Taylors live.
Davis stated after mail service was suspended to a portion of the College Avenue area, a community meeting was held and shortly after that, there was an outpouring of information that indicated Moose had acted aggressively. Davis said it was not relevant to meet Moose personally, as ultimately it is the dog's behavior with neighbors and the public at large that matters. He said although David Taylor takes responsibility for Moose, ultimately Moose bears the sin. Davis closed by saying of all the dangerous dog complaints he has received, this one has more evidence than any other.
Councilman Mike Dobson made a motion to sustain the Dangerous Dog Declaration, saying it is a moot point since the Taylors are moving anyway. The motion received unanimous approval by the council.
In other business, the council tabled the issue of sharing the costs of anchoring a building located at 211 Broadway, due to the design plans not being received. The building is located next to a building at 213 Broadway that has partially collapsed and is awaiting demolition. The city is engaged in a lawsuit with the owner of 213 Broadway. The lawsuit requires the owner to demolish the structure or be found in contempt of court. Engineers have recommended the adjacent building at 211 Broadway be braced and anchored to keep it structurally safe. There was also discussion as to the legal vs. moral responsibilities of the city paying for anchoring the building.
The Council also approved Resolutions:
Executing an easement agreement with Harold and Kathleen Haycraft to construct a driveway from Lover's Leap Road to a home they are building adjacent to Lover's Leap.
Accepting a $5,000 Tourism matching grant for the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Amending the 2012-13 Fiscal Year Budget to allow for some significant unforseen revenues and expenses occurring in the Executive Department, Street Dept., Parks and Rec., and Tourism.
A Bill amending the Fire Codes regarding unwanted and nuisance alarms was also approved.
Owner David Taylor is scheduled to appeal the Dangerous Dog Declaration upheld by City Manager Jeff LaGarce.
The dog known as “Moose” has developed quite a paper trail—attached to the council agenda are 128 pages of comments, testimony, and incident reports from city officials, the Postal Service, and citizens.
Here is a timeline of City actions regarding the case:
May 7th: Meeting hosted by the Police Chief with the Taylors and neighbors living near the Taylor residence on College Avenue. Mail service had been suspended in the area due to carrier complaints about "Moose" acting aggressively.
May 9th: Police Chief Lyndell Davis officially declared the dog dangerous, after reviewing the case.
May 14th: Taylor wrote a letter of appeal to the City Manager.
May 23rd: Appeal hearing held with testimony heard both pro and con on the dog's aggressive behavior. A few days later, the City Manager contacted the owners, stating it is in the public's best interest that the Dangerous Declaration be sustained.
June 4th: A letter arrives at City Hall from Mr. Taylor. He requests a final appeal to the city council regarding the Dangerous Dog Declaration. The letter states "the ruling was made by people who have never met or physically seen the dog. To determine his fate from reports only is not just."
June 10th: A memorandum to the city council from City Manager LaGarce states that Taylor now wishes to appeal the ruling to the city council. LaGarce further states "Mr. Taylor's May 23rd appeal was moving, but only offered emotional testimony. Moose's behavior with the Taylor family is irrelevant; its his behavior with members of society that matters".
Other business on the council agenda tonight includes the emergency demolition of a building located at 213 Broadway and its effect on an adjacent building.