July 3, 2018

Commission debates dog ordinance

A months-long debate continued at Washburn City Hall last week, with a resident repeatedly asking permission to keep the eight dogs commissioners have ordered him to house elsewhere.
Commissioners sent a letter to Washburn resident Bob Aaseth in April, advising him that he has six months to come into compliance with a 2016 pet ordinance statute limiting animals to four per household. At the time, Aaseth had 13 dogs at his property. Since then, one has died, Asseth said at the June 26 meeting.
“I’m just asking to be grandfathered in,” Aaseth said, explaining that all of the dogs he has now have been in his possession since before the limit was put into effect in 2016. Before the change, there was no limit on how many pets a resident could have in their home.
Commission President Larry Thomas said that Aaseth had a chance to give feedback on the law during the hearing process before the amendment was added to the pet ordinance. Aaseth said he would like to be grandfathered in, but Thomas said allowing Aaseth to keep all 12 dogs would be a violation of the ordinance.
“If we say yes, then we’re violating our ordinance,” Thomas said. “Some other towns, some don’t even allow that many dogs.”
Commissioner Mike Herdt asked if there had been complaints over the dogs. Thomas said people complain about the smell. The McLean County Sheriff’s Department had three calls for service involving Aaseth’s dogs, with all three concluding the dogs were in a clean environment, well fed and well taken care of.

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