• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Council passes animal ordinance: Chickens allowed in city limits

The Versailles City Council voted 3 to 2 last Tuesday, July 3, to pass an ordinance designed to protect pets and establish rules for people to keep chickens, but not roosters.

Save for the provisions dealing with chickens, the ordinance mirrors measures recently passed by the Midway City Council and Woodford Fiscal Court.

Council Members Laura Dake and Ann Miller voted no. Council Member Ken Kerkhoff was absent.

Dake said she’d been surprised when the first reading of the ordinance was held at the previous council meeting. She objected to language allowing pet owners to keep dogs on a 10-foot, swiveling tether indefinitely.

“You literally could tether an animal 24 hours a day, according to this,” Dake said, adding that she’d sent several emails to her colleagues about her concerns and gotten “almost zero response.” She acknowledged members of the Administrative and Legal Committee who designed the ordinance had put in lots of work on it, but said she believed a work session on the issue was necessary. Council Member Mary Ellen Bradley, the chair of that committee, said a work session wasn’t necessary because of all the research into other cities’ animal protection laws by Council Member Mike Coleman and others. Coleman agreed with Bradley’s point.

Mayor Brian Traugott wondered how tethering time limits could be enforced. Miller said she was concerned about language dealing with voice commands and said there was no need to pass an ordinance that wasn’t perfect.

City Attorney Bill Moore said the council could pass the ordinance and amend it later. Dake asked if she could get that in writing, because she’d sent three emails on the subject and gotten “crickets.” Bradley said her intent was to give city animal laws more teeth and for the ordinance to follow the county law, which could simplify the work of animal control workers and other law enforcement personnel.

An amendment to the ordinance before the vote could have been offered, but wasn’t. Later in the meeting, the council voted 4 to 0 in favor of a resolution asking the Kentucky General Assembly to toughen animal cruelty laws, an area in which Kentucky ranks low nationally. Dake abstained from the vote.

Troy Pike annexation

The council held a first reading on an ordinance that would annex 55.89 acres off Troy Pike a little more than 600 feet southwest of Southland Drive. According to Steve Ruschell, an attorney for the developer, between 144 and 148 single family homes will be built on the land, which is near Southside Elementary.

Moore said property owners had consented to the move. Traugott said the property would be developed regardless of whether it was in city limits and was already zoned residential.

Bids

The council unanimously approved low bids of:

$5,424 by Service Specialties, LLC of Winchester for a VFD replacement at Lift Station 2.

$34,860.50 by Best Equipment of Louisville for a leaf vacuum.

Versailles Police Chief James Fugate’s request to advertise for bids on four new consoles for the dispatch center in the new headquarters was unanimously approved.

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