CITY OF READING
Boards & Commissions

Animal Control Board
Thursday, December 6, 2018
City Hall Council Chambers

 

Members Attending: R. Rosato, President, H. Brown, Vice President, D. Straub

 

Others Attending: S. Smith, Deputy City Clerk; E. Manwiller ARL Deputy Director; S. Bachman Property Maintenance Supervisor

 

Call to Order

Mr. Rosato called the meeting to order at 6:08 pm.

 

A quorum was not present. Ms. Smith explained that the meeting can be held but that no official action can be taken.

 

Public Comment

None.

 

Approval of Minutes

The approval of the April 18, 2018 meeting will be addressed at the next meeting.

 

Animal Control Agency Report

None.

 

Permit Updates

Mr. Brown stated that the Mineral Spring Road cats have been inspected and approved.

 

Mr. Bachman explained that this issue began as a complaint about the number of cats. Mr. Brown stated that initially 42 cats were removed and 15 remained. He stated that the application was submitted and approved.

 

Old Business

None.

 

New Business

 

  • Animal Chapter Review and Update

 

Ms. Smith outlined the work she has done with Mr. Slifko, Mr. Brown, Mr. Hubric and Mr. Bachman to review and update the City’s animal regulations in regards to dog bites as this issue was brought before the Board at its last meeting.

 

Mr. Brown explained that Reading can implement regulations beyond the State regulations as long as they are not in conflict.

 

Mr. Straub noted that the dog owner in Centre Park did not press charges. Ms. Smith explained that the City’s process to declare an animal aggressive was separate from the civil process and can proceed without legal action. She stated that the animal can be declared aggressive by the City and the aggressive animal regulations apply unless the owner appeals to this Board.

 

Ms. Smith stated that she has also been working with City staff to hire a hearing officer and secure funding. She stated that she has also been working with the Law office to ensure the regulations are legally sound.

 

Ms. Manwiller expressed the belief that situations should be reviewed individually and stated that more definitions are needed. She specifically noted the need to define provocation.

 

Ms. Manwiller stated that the onus should be on the animal that is running loose and not the one that is leashed. She also noted the need to take the animal’s history into consideration before it is declared aggressive.

 

Mr. Rosato agreed that the animals running loose are problematic. He stated that there are leash laws.

 

Ms. Manwiller stated that retractable leashes are not allowed in New York City. She suggested that Reading also not allow them.

 

Mr. Straub stated that an animal will defend itself and its owner. He agreed that the circumstances of the attack need to be considered.

 

Ms. Smith highlighted the draft ordinance amendment. She stated that as the ordinance stands now the City can declare a dog aggressive.

 

Ms. Manwiller questioned the timelines if the bite is not reported within 48 hours. Ms. Smith expressed the belief that the timeline begins once the bite is reported. Mr. Bachman agreed.

 

Mr. Straub noted that many times the police are unaware of how to handle animal situations. Mr. Brown stated that he is called by the police many times to assist. Mr. Bachman stated that the police also work with his Property Maintenance personnel.

 

Ms. Manwiller noted her willingness to train officers if they are interested.

 

Ms. Smith stated that the City Clerk updates the officers annually about new regulations. She expressed the belief that Captain Winters is now aware of the process and will share that information with officers.

 

Mr. Bachman agreed and stated that communication between City offices has improved.

Mr. Brown stated that Wyomissing has made it illegal to process animals and it has reduced their calls about chickens and roosters.

 

Mr. Rosato questioned when the draft amendment should be completed. Ms. Smith noted her hope to have everything completed by spring.

 

Mr. Rosato suggested that members review the draft amendment further and send suggestions, corrections, etc to Ms. Smith before January 15. Ms. Smith stated that she will make the corrections and send the amendment via email for final review.

 

There was discussion about the need for dog licenses but that PA does not require proof of rabies vaccinations on the license application.

 

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Animal Control Board will be held on Thursday, January 24 at 6 pm.

 

Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted

Shelly Smith

Deputy City Clerk