PROtECTION PROPOSED: For animals left in hot cars.
A proposal to give the city of Little Rock a tool to take care of animals left in vehicles in extreme weather has undergone a rewrite.
The City Board meets Tuesday to set an agenda for the next week's meeting. Among the items to be considered is a rewrite of an ordinance to protect animals left in vehicles.
City code prohibits keeping an animal in a vehicle to the point it becomes distressed but doesn't define the conditions. A proposal was drafted that said it would be illegal to keep an animal confined in a vehicle or truck bed when the temperature is 70 or higher or 30 or lower if the animal is showing signs of distress. The ordinance gave city workers the power to enter a vehicle to help a distressed animal if a condition between 30 and 90 degrees wasn't being maintained by air conditioning heating or other means.
Well, there were problems, beginning with concerns about applying the ordinance in cold weather. City Director B.J. Wyrick,
whose husband raises cattle, wondered if livestock would be included. The original proposal did include livestock, if in distress. City Director Lance Hines
was concerned the ordinance might adversely affect hunters who keep dogs in kennels in the back of trucks.
So changes have been made. A note to the City Board explains:
Because of concerns that certain livestock, or hunting animals, would be included within this ordinance, changes have been made, and the concerns regarding cold weather have been deleted. In addition, Livestock has been excluded from the definition of Animal. Application of these provisions to animals in the back of an open truck have also been excluded. Finally, the ordinance has definitions of symptoms of heat distress that are recognizable to Animal Services professionals.
Here's the new ordinance proposal.
The ordinance also grants express authority to enter a vehicle to rescue an endangered animal. The animal will remain within the custody of Animal Services until the City is certain that the animal is no longer in danger.