Esky passes dog leash ordinance

ESCANABA — Fido officially has to be on a leash in Escanaba, following the approval of a new dog ordinance by the city council Thursday.

Despite being a heated topic at prior city meetings and many of the same people who had spoken passionately on the issue in the past were present at the meeting, no one took to the podium to argue for or against the new dog control rules during the second and final public hearing on the ordinance. The only comments on the new rules came from council member Ralph Blasier, who has spoken both for and against the new rules that dictate dogs must be on a leash when not on their owner’s property.

“I used to be on the other side of this. I used to think that a dog walker who could control his dog completely through verbal and visual commands should be OK, but I talked to the dog experts in the community — one of whom’s my wife, by the way — and she convinced me that’s not safe enough,” said Blasier.

Under the new rules, no owner shall have a dog within the city limits that is not under control. Dogs confined to the owner’s property are considered under control, and dogs off the owner’s property are considered under control if the dog is “tethered by a sufficiently-sturdy leash.”

The new rules also specify no dog shall be allowed to run on any beach, except a dog under control by the owner or as permitted by park rules. Dogs are specifically forbidden from running loose in parks, except for designated off-leash areas or dog parks. Dogs off-leash inside the fence of the dog park are considered under control so long as the owner is obeying all of the dog park rules.

The ordinance passed unanimously.

In other business, the council:

– approved the sale of a city-owned residential lot to Davis Zubke. The lot, which is 75 percent wetlands and only has partial utility hookups, was sold to Zubke for $10,000.

– approved a lease agreement with Community Action Agency for Senior Center activities at the Catherine Bonifas Civic Center. The lease agreement must be approved annually.

– approved a bid for traffic signal design services for a pedestrian crossing over North Lincoln Road at the Danforth Road intersection. The traffic signal is required by the Michigan Department of Transportation and is part of the North City Limits Non-Motorized Pathway Project. The project was awarded to Orchard, Hiltz and McCliment, Inc. (OHM) of Hancock for $12,845.10.

– approved a contract with new City Assessor Jim McNeil.

– approved cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) linings for storm and sanitary sewer projects. Both projects were awarded to Tunnel Vision Pipeline Services. Final project costs for the storm sewer lining are not known because the amount of materials has not been determined, but the bid proposal came in under budget. The sanitary sewer project was approved for a sum not to exceed $435,160.65.

– approved the purchase of a new dump truck with plow from U.P. Truck Center of Quinnesec for $186,014.

– approved the purchase of 32 sets of fire turnout gear from Firstdue Fire Supply for $96,534.08, which was the lowest bid.