As the Tobacco and Heritage Festival approaches, the city of Russellville would like to remind the community of Ordinance 2004-10, which says, “It shall be unlawful for any person to bring any dog, leashed or unleashed, to any public event held in the City of Russellville Kentucky.”
Over the past few years, more and more people are bringing their dogs to the festival creating a concern for the public’s health and safety, said mayor Mark Stratton. The city is not creating a new ordinance to deal with this issue, but reminding people of an ordinance first established in 2004.
The ordinance has not been strictly enforced over the past several years, however, because the mayor and some members of the city council received numerous complaints last year soon after the festival concerning dogs, the ordinance will now be followed to the tee.
“Last year was my first year as mayor,” said Stratton, not understanding why this ordinance has been relaxed since it was placed on the books. “They didn’t enforce it after (former mayor) Shirlee Yassney left office. I got several complaints from people after the festival last year on their uneasiness of dogs being around their kids,” said Stratton. “I’m not a dog hater, but it is on the books and it is for the safety and well being of everyone who attends the festival.”
There is no separation for big dogs or little dogs. Even though a larger dog may scare some, small dogs that are carried in purses or strollers can feel confined and scared and may act out in an aggressive way, said Stratton.
“We are just trying to alert people ahead of time to leave their dogs at home. I hate to be the bad guy, but I have to think of all the citizens and their safety,” said the mayor.
The ordinance is as follows:
Section one: Ordinance 79-12 is hereby amended to create a new section to read: DOGS PROHIBITED AT PUBLIC EVENTS:
a. it shall be unlawful for any person to bring any dog, leased or unleashed, to any public event held in the City of Russellville, Kentucky. “Public event” shall include, but shall not be limited to, Tobacco and Heritage Festival; Flying Fish Festival, August 8th Celebration, or any other large gathering of people brought together to celebrate a public event which requires a permit from the City of Russellville, Kentucky.
b. Exceptions: this Ordinance shall not apply to dogs trained and being used to assist the blind; police dogs on duty for law enforcement authorities; dogs officially entered into an event, or taking part in an event; provided, however, that a dog shall only be allowed an event one (1) hour prior to the event, and once a dog is no longer participating in an event, it shall be removed so as to comply with this Ordinance.
c. Penalty: any person found to be violating this section of this Ordinance shall be subject to a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $100, and law enforcement shall have the authority to remove the dog from the public area; if the owner cannot be found, the dog shall be taken to the Humane Society, and may be retrieved by the owner at the owner’s expense.
Many large public events take place in the City of Russellville throughout the year.
The City consistently receives complaints about the presence of dogs, both leashed and unleashed, at these public events.
Complaints include the intimidation of adults and small children by both leashed and unleashed dogs, the presence of dogs and dog waste near locations where food and beverages are prepared, served and consumed, and the fighting of multiple dogs in close proximity to adults and small children.
The unregulated presence of dogs at public events creates a threat to public peace, health and safety because dogs may harass, intimidate, threaten or injure the general public and may create a serious health hazard in the relationship to preparation, service and consumption of food and beverages.
The city of Russellville is sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but asks all that visit the festival adhere to this ordinance.