By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Hike those pants and register those dogs or face stiff fines from a pair of ordinances under study by the City Council.
As early as next month, municipal leaders could amend two existing codes – one on public indecency, the other on dangerous dogs.
The first would add to its list of existing no-nos the exposure of skin or underwear due to low-hanging pants and skirts. Violators could face a first-time fine of $50, and up to $250 for each subsequent offense plus 40 hours of community service.
The second aims to strengthen Tupelo’s dangerous-dog ordinance by expanding its classification of risky pets from pit bulls to include rottweilers and dobermans. It requires those pet owners to register their dogs and pay an annual $80 fee – as opposed to the one-time $50 fee in the current ordinance.
But council President Fred Pitts conceded the city doesn’t adequately enforce the current law on the books. He vowed it will become more aggressive on enforcement if the new rules pass.
Other changes to the dangerous dog ordinance include a minimum ownership age of 21, a requirement to microchip and sterilize all dangerous dogs – as well as carry $100,000 liability insurance on them – and an increase in the minimum outside pen height from four feet to six.
There’s also a new line banning dangerous dogs from anywhere within 500 feet of a school, and all dangerous dogs must wear city-issued orange collars.
The penalties for violating this ordinance would increase from the current $150 to a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $1,000 if the new version passes. In addition, violators could face anywhere from one week to six months in jail and removal of the dog.
“The biggest thing is the fines are more,” Pitts said.
City leaders are set to discuss the proposed changes to both ordinances on Tuesday. Depending on the outcome of those talks, they could vote on the matters in early January.