Sabetha City Commission discusses animal control

The Sabetha City Commission met at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14, at City Hall. Present were Mayor Doug Clark, City Commissioners Nick Aberle, Maridel Wittmer and Julie Burenheide, City Administrator Doug Allen, Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer and City Clerk Steve Compo. Commissioner Norm Schmitt was absent.

Many guests were present to express concerns about wind farms and the amendment to the city’s zoning regulations.

Zoning Amendment

Mayor Clark began the meeting by explaining that the Planning Commission recommended the commission amend the city’s Land Development Code Article 2 Section 2-102. The amendment removes commercial wind generation facilities (item five) under Article 2, Section 2-102, and stay as a prohibited use within the extraterritorial area as defined within Sabetha’s comprehensive plan. City commissioners approved this ordinance. See ordinance on page 7A of this week’s Herald.

Animal Control Enforcement

Jonathon and Alexandra Kilhoffer were present to express concerns regarding animal control within the city. J. Kilhoffer said he proposes that the city have more resources available for controlling loose animals.

J. Kilhoffer suggested possible solutions to the issue of dogs at large and wanted the city to commit to a timeline for pursuing these ideas and looking at costs. The suggestions included the following:

• Incentive program for city workers or police officers who pick up dogs at large. He suggested giving the citation fine to the individuals who pick up the dogs.

• Hire a full-time animal control officer.

• Purchase the proper dog-catching equipment so that picking up the dogs is easier.

Mayor Clark deferred to Police Chief Robert Wahwasuck regarding the process for issuance of citations for dogs at large.

Wahwasuck said the practice has been that when a dog call is received, city workers pick up the dogs during normal working hours and police officers are used at other times.

Fines are as follows: first offense, $25; second offense, $50; and third offense, $100. Commissioners inquired as to how the dogs are picked up.

“We literally come out and grab them,” Wahwasuck said.

If the dog can’t be caught, the police officers or city workers contact the dog’s owners.

Commissioners said that for the safety of the officers and city workers, proper equipment needs to be available to catch the dogs.

Additionally, commissioners inquired as to how many calls the Sabetha Police Department receives on a daily basis. Wahwasuck said that, on average, two to three animal calls are received each day.

Mayor Clark asked that City Administrator Allen and Chief Wahwasuck review Kilhoffer’s suggestions and present solutions to the commission in a month.

Also at the meeting:

Fire Chief Jim Johnson presented bids for fire truck. Commissioners accepted the bid for $198,645 from Hays Fire and Rescue. The bid includes two trucks from Aberle Ford, $65,800; two beds from Hays Fire and Rescue, $132,230; and nozzles from Hays Fire and Rescue, $615. The city will pay 25 percent of this cost, and the rural fire district will pay 75 percent.

Chief Wahwasuck presented his police report.

Commissioners approved the meeting minutes from Dec. 10, 2018.

The next regular commission meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28.

Krista Wasinger58 Posts

Krista Wasinger is Co-Editor of The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2011. She specializes in city reporting and feature stories, as well as photography and page and advertising design. Krista is a 2004 Fort Hays State University graduate with a degree in communications studies with an emphasis in journalism. She lives in Sabetha with her husband and four children.

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