LINGLE – The Lingle Town Council convened for the second regular meeting of August on Wednesday in the Lingle Community Center. Much of the discussion for the afternoon once again revolved around nuisance properties and animals.
Lingle resident Wendy Westman informed the council she owned three Nigerian Pygmy Dwarf Goats and several ducks. Westman was recently informed of Lingle’s ordinance prohibiting ownership of goats and ducks, absent a variance from the ordinance, by Lingle Police Chief Endra Andrews.
Councilmember Brandie Cook asked if there had been any complaints about the animals.
“Not one complaint,” Andrews said. “I have been told that when they go to the park they are on a leash.”
Mayor George Siglin explained the requirement set forth by §4-3A-1(A) of the Lingle Code of Ordinances.
The ordinance reads, “Prohibited: It shall be unlawful for any person, persons, company or corporation to keep within the town any horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, fowl or poultry, mules, asses, burros, llamas, emus, etc.”
Siglin explained the process for obtaining a variance to the town’s ordinance.
Westman admitted she had acquired the animals while living in Lingle, but without knowledge of the ordinance prohibiting ownership of the animals.
“I was the first one to inform her of that,” Andrews said. “I would also like to state I have not had any complaints about the goats or the ducks. I have not had one complaint. No noise. I have been told, again, that she walks them on a leash, which is amazing. From my perspective, there have not been any issues with them.”
Siglin expressed his preference that a variance be obtained before any animals were acquired and not after the fact. Siglin, with confirmation from Andrews, pointed out she is in violation of the ordinance at this time. Siglin asked the council for a recommendation of how to handle the matter.
Councilmember Steve Edwardson told the council, “Since there hasn’t been an issue raised by her neighbors or anyone who has encountered these animals, I say let her file for the variance. Give her the interim time, file the variance, and then we’ll take it from there.”
Cook said she agreed with Edwardson and pointed out the situation would be different if there were issues brought forth by her ownership of the animals.
Westman’s neighbor, Cathy Flock spoke to the council about the animals.
“I live right next door to her, and I don’t have a problem with them,” Flock said. “For one thing, they’re contained. They’re in their backyard and they keep them there. I don’t have a problem with them.”
“It sounds like they are better behaved than some dogs,” Edwardson said.
The council went over the process for Westman potentially obtain a variance for the animals, though Siglin advised Westman variance request applications for ducks in town had been denied in years past.
Lingle resident Darrell Taylor next spoke to the council about two dogs who accosted him and his dog while they were in Whipple Park.
Taylor explained how the dog in his possession was a dog which he had not permanently adopted as he was in the process of determining whether the dog would be able to live with him and his family.
Though the dog is not permanently his at this point, and he is unsure as to whether he will maintain ownership of the dog, he pointed his ability to maintain control of his dog while another pet owner failed to maintain control of their dogs, potentially putting him and his dog in danger of injury.
After the encounter with the two dogs, Taylor looked at the town ordinances governing dogs and restraint provisions. He pointed out the ordinance stated a dog at large was one who was “not under the control of the owner.”
Taylor felt there should be better wording within the ordinance which would provide a clear understanding of what “under control” means in the ordinance.
Taylor also expressed his fear of what might happen to the dogs should he sign a complaint for the dogs’ transgressions, fearing the town might euthanize them for their actions. Taylor said he based this fear off the rules regarding animals when he lived in Florida.
Siglin said that would not be the case here, stating, “The owner has to be responsible, not the dogs. That’s how we work here.”
During council items, Cook asked the council how she was to go about changing an ordinance. Specifically, she asked about adding words in the vehicle ordinances, requiring vehicles to be able to be moveable under their own power or in otherwise operable condition.
Edwardson explained, saying anyone who wishes to amend an ordinance needs to draft an amendment to the ordinance by going into the town office, looking at the code book and making any suggested changes, additions or subtractions to the ordinance on a piece of paper.
After the new ordinance has been drafted, the ordinance can then be presented to the council. The council will then have to have three readings for the proposed ordinance. The council can then approve or deny the ordinance through the readings.
Lastly, Siglin urged everyone to remain aware of the uptick in COVID cases. He said the county had an increase in 23 positive cases of COVID in the past 24 hours. He urged the public to use caution where they go and protect themselves.
The next meeting of the Lingle Town Council will be Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 5 p.m. in the Lingle Community Center.