Councilwoman Joi Mergy gives her report on Monday while Councilman Jeff Agler listens. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Councilwoman Joi Mergy gives her report on Monday while Councilman Jeff Agler listens. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – Van Wert City Council members introduced an ordinance that would bring greater protection to dogs who are outside in extreme heat and cold during Monday's meeting.

During the Feb. 25 meeting, Councilwoman Joi Mergy said she would contact a local veterinarian to discuss an ordinance that Fort Wayne, Indiana, currently uses that states animals must brought into a temperature-controlled structure when the temperatures are at or below 10 degrees Fahrenheit or at or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

After discussion with local vet, Dr. Tom Wilkin, it was decided that Van Wert would adopt a similar ordinance when it came to the temperatures but that they would not require that dogs be brought into a temperature-controlled structure. Instead, any proper structure that protects the dog from weather was deemed sufficient.

"After talking to Dr. Wilkin, he agreed with that temperature range," said Mergy. "He said a lot depends on the dog. Of course a chihuahua is going to be different than a husky as far as what they can tolerate. He wasn't so sure that a temperature-controlled structure was necessary – as long as it's a sheltered structure that gives them shelter from the wind, rain or sun."

After discussion on wording, Council decided that the ordinance (19-03-020) would read: "Animals must have access to a sheltered structure from wind, snow, rain, and sunshine when the temperature is at or below 10 degrees Fahrenheit or at or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit or when a heat advisory, windchill advisory, or tornado warning has been issued by local, state, or federal authority, except when the animal is in visual range of a competent person that is outside with the animal."

The ordinance was read for the first time on Monday and will be read two more times before passing.

Also during the meeting, Councilman Jeff Agler brought a complaint to Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming regarding large pick-up trucks parked on Main Street that stick out too far in the angled parking. Agler said that in order to avoid hitting the trucks parked in the angled parking, he has to position his vehicle into the "left turn only" lane which then causes him to be in the way of cars who want to turn left during a green arrow.

Fleming said he would see if the spots could be redrawn at a different angle but that it would likely cause the loss of parking spots which business owners are adamant about having. Council President Jon Tomlinson reminded Council that the reason there is angular parking on Main Street is because business owners were adamant about having the parking.

"There's nothing we can do right now," said Tomlinson. "When we redid those we didn't want angled parking; the state didn't want angled parking. The state wanted parallel parking down that block and the business owners of that block threw a fit saying they were going to lose business, so we changed. There is unintentional repercussions of that decision."

During her report, City Auditor Martha Balyeat gave a brief report on City finances. She noted that the City is spending more than they are taking in but that they are currently $33,000 ahead of last year, which Balyeat noted wasn't much.

In other business, in addition to reading 19-03-020 for the first time, Council read ordinance 19-02-018 for the second time which is an ordinance to make permanent appropriations for the current expenses and other expenditures for the City of Van Wert from Jan. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2019.

With no further business, Council adjourned. The next meeting is set for March 20 at 6:30 p.m. A committee meeting to discuss language regarding appealing a variance and a zoning decision was set for 6 p.m. and a public hearing to discuss an agriculture district ordinance was set for 6:20 p.m.