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Oxford passes new regulations for pet owners

Miami University student Antonio Alejandro advises City Council to consider changing an ordinance on managed natural lawn areas to a resolution.
Miami University student Antonio Alejandro advises City Council to consider changing an ordinance on managed natural lawn areas to a resolution.

At the beginning of the Oxford City Council meeting on Oct. 18, Mayor William Snavely began by proclaiming Oct. 25 as Caroline Scott Harrison Day for the 2022 year. Harrison was born in Oxford, and her father taught at Miami University.

Snavely presented the proclamation to Heidi Schiller, executive director of the Oxford Community Arts Center. Schiller then spoke in front of the council. 

“I just came here to say thank you to Mayor Snavely and to City Council and to city staff for taking one day out of the year each year to celebrate Caroline Scott Harrison in the month where so many important moments of her life took place,” Schiller said. 

Harrison was the first lady to Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States. She was also the first to decorate a Christmas tree and have electricity installed in the White House. In addition to her role as first lady, Harrison was the first president general of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

The meeting had no further public participation.

The meeting had two resolutions, one increasing the legal director’s hourly rate from $135 an hour to $155 and the other extending an option for the city manager to purchase real estate with Episcopal Retirement Services by a month, both passing unanimously.

City Council was then presented two second-reading ordinances.

The first was a revision of the city’s ordinances about dogs and other animals running at large. The reading replaced a rule from the ordinance that said dogs need to be kept under reasonable control in public with two more defined rules. 

“When off the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer, keep the dog on a leash under the reasonable control of some person who is of suitable age and discretion,” the first change read. 

The second change stated that the rule does not apply to dog parks, city-sponsored events for leashless dogs and police dogs.

Council unanimously approved the substitutions. 

During discussion, however, City Council and the public brought up more concerns about wordings in the ordinance, such as a need for the addition of cats in some sections, rules about tethering dogs to poles and specifications about leash length.

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Discussion from City Council ultimately led to the decision to also strike sections that said female dogs in heat would need to be on a leash in public, stating that the substitutions made the sections redundant. The strike was agreed upon unanimously. 

Councilor Jason Bracken then presented another ordinance that would add a section about managed natural lawn areas which would allow residents to grow plants exceeding the length of 10 inches as long as they are intentional and non-invasive or native.

Multiple residents and some councilors thought the ordinance would work better as a resolution.

Council elected to table the ordinance to further discuss it.

At the end of the meeting, Councilor David Prytherch announced that the previously-mentioned over $2 million proposal for an Amtrak station in Oxford was approved by the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments

“That ranks up there among some of the bigger grants we’ve gotten, which I just think is, again, a testament to the kind of nice dynamic we have going on between big thinking, tight planning, and cost estimation and great grant writing,” Prytherch said. “So we’re able to turn a dollar into five dollars.” 

Jessica Greene, assistant city manager, added that Miami University had already committed a large portion to the platform.

Oxford City Council will meet again at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 1, in the Oxford Courthouse.