Recent dog bites in Parsons may lead to approval of an ordinance requiring the owners of vicious dogs to pay for an identification microchip.

The ordinance city commissioners will consider on Monday would require the city to impound any animal that bites a person and have it implanted with a microchip to help identify the animal in the future. The cost would be assessed to the owner if the animal is ultimately declared viscous. The dog could later be impounded in violation of the ordinance requiring vicious animals to be removed from the city. The city would have the option to euthanize the dog if the court deems it necessary.

During a Thursday afternoon work session, City Manager Debbie Lamb said the proposed ordinance is a result of several dog bites in the last few weeks. She said it is fairly certain that one of the dogs had been declared vicious and the owners ordered to remove it from town.

Lamb said it’s difficult to prove that a dog deemed vicious is the same dog investigated later. Dogs can have similar characteristics, and the owners will often claim a dog in question is not the same dog that was declared vicious. Microchipping should alleviate that problem.

“This is a way for us to more quickly identify that this is a dog that we’ve had before,” Lamb said.

Microchipping costs about $25, Lamb said, although the cost could be lower.

During Thursday’s discussion, Commissioner Tom Shaw said now may be a good time to also look at the pit bull ban that has been in place in Parsons since 1997. The ban was met with a lot of controversy, and reversal of the ban has been discussed a few times in commission meetings. Commissioners, including Shaw, favored keeping the ban in 2015 when Linda Semrad of Proud Animal Lovers Shelter requested a lift of the ban, but Commissioners Leland Crooks and Verlyn Bolinger have joined the board since then. Dr. Eva Dudek, Parsons Pet Hospital owner, called for a reversal last year, but her request generated very little discussion.

It’s difficult to tell what is and isn’t a pit bull at times, and the city hasn’t found a veterinarian to cooperate with the identification. Most veterinarians oppose breed-specific bans.

“This goes kind of hand in glove with the whole idea of a vicious dog ordinance,” Shaw said of a possible reversal of the ban.

Shaw said he doesn’t really want to encourage people keeping pit bulls in town, but the city just hasn’t been able to enforce the ordinance. As a result, there are a lot of pit bulls in town, he said.

Commissioner Kevin Cruse agreed with Shaw, saying if the law is not enforceable, it might as well be eliminated.

Reversal of the pit bull ban was not included on the agenda for Monday’s meeting.

The commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the commission room at the Parsons Municipal Building. Seating is still restricted in the commission room because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there will be chairs available in the lobby with a TV broadcasting the meeting. Those attending will be invited to step into the room to speak.

In other business the commissioners will consider:

— Approving an ordinance that would rezone property at 2106 Crawford Ave. from multi-family residential (R-3) to service commercial (C-3) to allow Nick and Michelle Beery to continue operating Milli’s New and Used Furniture.

— Approving payment of $22,410 to BG Consultants Inc. for work completed on a stormwater improvement project. The city received a grant to make upgrades to two pump stations along the Labette Creek levy.

— Approving payment of $2,499 to Olsson Associates for inspection of the Lake Parsons dam.

— Approving payment of $10,628.38 to Heck & Wicker Construction, Parsons, for work on the 16th Street (U.S. 59) project that will improve drainage, widen the intersection at Main Street and add new concrete on 16th from Clark to Belmont.

— Approving the closure of North 18th Street from Washington Avenue to Main Street to allow food trucks to use the area during a 620 Shopping Event. Downtown business members of the Parsons Chamber of Commerce will host the event from 9 a.m. to about 3 p.m. June 20.

— Meeting in executive session for 15 minutes to discuss the possible purchase of lots for use by city departments.

During a Thursday afternoon work session the commissioners signed a contract for a Federal Aviation Administration grant to be used to add a new parallel taxiway that will connect the existing taxiway with the airport’s runway. LaForge and Budd Construction Co. was the apparent low bidder for project at $450,000. 

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