G.I. Council Passes Animal Code Overhaul


The council chambers were packed Tuesday night as Grand Island leaders tackled a number of issues, including an overhaul of the animal code.
That ordinance passed with an 8-2 vote.
It's the first overhaul of the code in 15 years.
For the first time police and animal control officers will be able to cite owners of barking dogs.
The ordinance also creates a "nuisance owner" designation, which gives harsher penalties to repeat offenders.
That was the most important change, according to the Central Nebraska Humane Society.
"Our biggest concern is the irresponsible owner and having that piece in there so that the animals aren't just rotating through and getting into trouble when it's the owner's fault," said Laurie Dethloff, CNHS executive director.
One proposed change was taken out of the ordinance. It would have allowed eight hens on a lot of any size. Right now, four hens are allowed per one acre of property within the city limits.
Several residents came out in favor of the change at a study session.
"Those of us who invested the time to attend the study sessions deserve to have the issue discussed further and brought to a vote," Kathy Nabity told councilmembers Tuesday.
But, councilmembers said the majority of people they talked to were against the change.
"I think the public has spoken for now. That's not to say that it can't be revisited at a future date," said Councilmember Mitch Nickerson.
The council also voted to start the process of selling city land bought for a firefighter training center to a local business; and they passed an ordinance changing how those controversial police pensions were calculated.
Several residents also came out to urge the city to support a community visioning plan. Grand Island hasn't had one since 2002.