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Woman Whose Cat Was Killed by Dog Wants New Law in Ft. Wright


A Fort Wright woman asked city council to consider a vicious dog ordinance after her cat was killed by a dog.

Whitney O'Neal, of Glazier Road, said that in early May she was in her front yard with her dog, a German shepherd, and her cat. A dog that she described as a rottweiler/doberman mix belonging to a neighbor, attacked the German shepherd. As O'Neal fought to separate the dogs, the cat tried to run away and was pursued by the neighbor's dog.

The cat was caught by the dog, and killed.

O'Neal said she was traumatized and believed that children who saw were, too.

Police responded to the scene and a report was filed, but O'Neal said nothing else was done.

"What steps can I take?," she asked council last week. "It's not right! She was part of my family! Do I need signatures?"

Mayor Dave Hatter sympathized with her, saying he has pets too, and they are like family.

City Administrator Jill Bailey said that defining vicious dog is the difficult thing. O'Neal said that Taylor Mill and Ft. Mitchell have good laws and they specify that the dangerous dog has to be out of the city within five days after an incident. She said in Park Hills if it is a vicious dog it has to be euthanized in five days after an incident.

Bailey said Kenton County is restructuring its vicious animal ordinance for the county.

Jeff Bethel, the city's public works director, said that there are laws in the city resulting in fines if violated.

During the discussion several cases were brought up where the dog involved in a vicious incident was either ordered to be out of the city or seized by Kenton County Animal Control, but no one had any recent incidents where Animal Control has stepped in to take the offending animal.

Police Chief Marc Schworer explained that the city always refers incidents like these to Animal Control: because the city doesn't have any facilities to keep an animal, especially one that might be vicious.

Mayor Hatter said he thought that as a city, council needs to find out what Animal Control is telling people, and then talk to them about what Ft. Wright would like to see happen in these cases. He also thought O'Neal should make her complaint and story known to the Kenton County Fiscal Court.

"I highly recommend that the city makes changes," said O'Neal. "I want to enjoy being in my yard this summer."

She said she was constantly afraid of the dog coming back, so she couldn't relax and sit in her yard.

"I want to go on record, that the dog won't be coming home if it attacks me," Mayor Hatter said.

He told O'Neal that at best it will take several months to get a new ordinance passed. He explained that he never wants another attack like this, but he realized it will probably happen again, and he hopes it won't be a child the next time. But Hatter said with an ordinance, hopefully the city could do something.

Other notes:

Fire Chief Steve Schewe told council about the five bids they received for the new ambulance. The bids were all base bids and don't include the cot or the load systems. Schewe recommended going with Specialty Truck Horton Ambulance for a bid of $236,776, and council voted to accept it.

Council also voted to accept the new Rumpke contract, which will raise the price of trash collection from $154 a year to $183 per household per year. The contract is for two years, and has two 2-year options, with a slight rate hike on each option. All the other details will be the same for the residents.

Council voted for the first reading of an ordinance that grants a waiver for a sidewalk for Resurrection Church. It was explained that there are no sidewalks on either side of the church and the area is very steep, so sidewalks are contraindicated.

Another first reading was voted on to add retail sales and services to the permitted uses in the Highway Oriented Commercial, or HOC zone.

Council voted to adopt the $4.9 million budget for 2019-2020.  They also agreed to accept the agreement for the municipal road aid for the upcoming year, which is $114,747.

Council agreed to raise the fee for legal services from $150/ hour to $180/ hour for their attorneys Todd McMurtry and Kyle Winslow.  This is the first time the price has been raised since the city hired the firm in 2008.

Council also voted to accept the bid of Riegler Blacktop for the work on this year's list of streets.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor