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Friday, Jan 22, 2010County: Iron
Disposition: Not Charged
Person of Interest: Garn Page
Parowan City Attorney Justin Wayment said Thursday he is working to change a city ordinance that allows the killing of a dog under certain circumstances, taking action on the issue after two dogs were shot and killed last week in a Parowan neighborhood.
Ordinance 1-5-6 reads: in part, "It shall be unlawful for the owner or person having charge, care, custody or control of any dog to allow such dog to attack, chase or worry any person, any domestic animal having a commercial value, or any species of hoofed protected wildlife, or to attack domestic fowl." Wayment and Mayor Don Landes told the room full of Parowan residents that all ordinances within the city dealing with animal rights and gun rights should be viewed with common sense.
"This will be a balancing act," Wayment said, noting that he has to rewrite the ordinance so that it preserves livestock and also ensures resident safety.
Kerry Jenson, Natalie Jenson and Lance Stubbs were on the agenda to discuss the issue.
Kerry Jenson read Ordinance 16-1-3 that states, "A person is guilty of an infraction if he willfully and recklessly throws or propels any device, or weapon, any rock, stone, stock, B-B pellet, or other missile, or to use any flipper, sling, air rifle, bow and arrow, or similar device within the City limits or within 300 feet of any building or structure within the City limits, except by permission of the Police Department."
Jenson noted that this ordinance should be used in the same capacity when dealing with animals that attack, but this interpretation was not used when Garn Page allegedly shot Jenson's dog.
Resident Rose Page, whose husband allegedly shot and killed dogs belonging to Jenson and Stubbs, said she was the only witness to those same dogs chasing after lambs in her backyard.
The dog owners said they have witnesses who disagree with her statements and their dogs were wrongfully shot.
The dog owners added that their bigger concern is if Page continues to shoot at animals, a person may accidentally get shot because of close proximity among neighbors, or because of stray bullets.
Parowan Police Chief Preston Griffiths wrote neither party citations, and said he used his officer's discretion to justify the actions of Page.
"I do also have problems with discharging of firearms in city limits, but the owner of the sheep doesn't know the dog's intentions, and if the dogs would have been properly restrained this wouldn't have happened," Griffiths said.
Wayment said he understands both sides of the issue, and plans to rewrite the ordinance so that the livestock owner must call the police and wait for their arrival before taking drastic action against a dog.
Wayment added he expects the change will take one to two months.
The shootings of the dogs remains under investigation by authorities.
- The Spectrum News - January 29, 2010
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