The Hastings City Council Monday approved a revised animal ordinance that removed any mention of the specific breed of pit bulls as vicious dogs, changed to define dangerous actions by any dog.
The change was made after complaints by pit bull owners who said the breed was not inherently vicious. Two people thanked the council for the revision, in contrast to several previous council meetings about the ordinance with intense discussions by strong advocates for pit bulls and mixed pit bull breeds, and those adamantly opposed to them.
The final version added a classification for working dogs such as law enforcement K-9s and a requirement that an owner of a dog deemed vicious carry insurance and supply the city with an insurance certificate to show they continue to have coverage. Any dog previously verified as vicious will continue to carry the designation.
Councilman Don Bowers and Mayor Dave Tossava voted no, with Bowers saying most dog owners are responsible, but both national and Hastings statistics show it’s not a good idea.
The ordinance goes into effect with its publication.
In other business, the council approved a one-time $15,000 payment to the Michigan Department of Transportation Bureau of Aeronautics to certify the Precision Approach Path Indicator lighting approach equipment at the City of Hastings Barry County Airport. The MDOT recently implemented the fee, and it if isn’t paid in advance, they will not certify the system. If they don’t have the certification, the lights would be turned off. Tossava said it was a service that was free, agreeing with Councilman Al Jarvis that, “we don’t have a choice.”
The Barry County Commission is expected to approve the payment Tuesday as part of the Joint Operating Agreement with the city. The Hastings Airport Board has recommended approval.
In other action, the council:
*approved the annual WBCH Jefferson Street St. Patrick’s Day Parade for Saturday, March 17.
*approved requests by both the YMCA and South Central Michigan Youth Baseball to use the city’s sports fields this summer. There were conflicts with a few dates, but they have been worked out by the groups, City Manager Jeff Mansfield said.
*set a public hearing for March 12 at 7 p.m. for comment from property owners in a Special Assessment District that will fund sidewalk and a 50-foot pedestrian bridge along West State Street/M-43 from Industrial Park Drive to the Dollar Store for a total cost of $114,000.
*went into closed session to discuss trial or settlement strategy on specific pending litigation.