The City of Camdenton could get a new dog ordinance as soon as within a month.

The City of Camdenton could get a new dog ordinance as soon as within a month.

The city’s board of aldermen discussed the controversial topic at length at its most recent meeting Jan. 6.

The city currently has a breed-specific and dangerous dog ordinance and could move to a more specific dangerous dog ordinance and do away with a breed-specific ordinance altogether.

"I have very mixed emotions about this whole thing," Mayor John McNabb said. "As a community a dangerous dog ordinance sounds good, but I am not sure if to a neighbor, that it does."

The city's current ordinance states, "It shall be unlawful to keep, harbor, care for, own or possess in any way a pit bull do within the municipal limits of the City of Camdenton."

The original ordinance was adopted in 1988 and then updated in 1993, 2001 and in 2011. During the latest update, a checklist of characteristics was included.

According to the ordinance, a pitbull is "any dog that exhibits those distinguishing characteristics that substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club as described in the identification checklist which is on file inn the city offices. Such identification by City personnel using the above standards shall be prima facie proof and shall create a rebuttable presumption that a dog is a pit bull."

The checklist include eight items. In order to be in violation of the ordinance, the animal much possess five out of eight characteristics which describe the dog's features.

After a situation arose last year where homeowner Misty Brown had to remove her two American Bulldogs from the city limits, the city's attorney Phil Morgan crafted a sample ordinance for the aldermen to review.

Before closing on the home that she purchased late last year, Brown visited Camdenton City Hall to make sure that she could have her two registered American bulldogs in the city limits. Brown says she was told she could keep the dogs inside the city since they were not pit bulls.

About a week and half after moving in, Brown received a visit from Camdenton's Animal Control officer Chasity Ivey. She was told that a neighbor complained and she needed to get rid of her dogs by Nov. 12, 2014.

Brown has been present at recent board of aldermen meetings hoping to see a change in the city's ordinance.

"We have gotten further than anyone else has," Brown said. "It looks like they are actually going to make a change."

Brown has sold the house that she bought inside the city limits just a few months ago and plans on closing on a new house on Jan. 15. If the board passes a new ordinance, she plans on staying in the city.

"I would like to stay in Camdenton. It is where my daughter goes to school, where her friends are and where her church is," Brown added.

The proposed ordinance does have one catch that could cause an issue for Brown. It only allows for one potentially dangerous dog per household and she has two. If the city does not grandfather her two American Pitbulls in, she plans on moving to Lebanon, Mo.

The court date for her ordinance violation has been postponed until Feb. 17.

Her two dogs are currently being housed in an outdoor heated doghouse outside of the city limits, in which they will stay until the ordinance issue is resolved.

Camdenton Police Chief Laura Wright also expressed concerns with adopting a new ordinance. She told the board that she had “mixed emotions” with the proposed ordinance. Her concern is that the city may not learn about a dangerous dog until an incident occurs, but she is glad that the ordinance is open to identifying potentially dangerous dogs early on. The new ordinance will add more work for Animal Control, Wright said.

Many aldermen spoke up and said they were interested in moving forward with a new ordinance. The proposed ordinance is still in its early stages.

The proposal only allows one potentially dangerous dog, but could change as it is revised.

"We still have quite a bit of work to do before we get where we want to be," Morgan said.

The current ordinance still stands until a new one is drafted, approved and finalized into an ordinance.