Web exclusive: Council approves stricter tethering rules

Staff report

The St. Louis County Council last week approved more stringent rules governing the tethering of dogs and cats outdoors.

Council members granted final approval to a revised animal control code that prohibits tethering dogs or cats outdoors unattended when the temperature is 32 degrees or lower or 90 degrees or higher.

The amended code also limits the amount a time a dog or cat can be tethered outdoors to eight continuous hours or nine hours in a 24-hour period.

The code previously limited tethering to 10 continuous hours or 12 hours in a 24-hour period.

Former 5th District Council Chairwoman Barbara Fraser, D-University City, introduced the bill last month prior to leaving office.

In other business last week, newly elected council Chairman Steve Stenger, D-south county, introduced an emergency ordinance to impose a 180-day moratorium on the issuance of new demolition permits for buildings 100,000 square feet or larger that were used for commercial, industrial or manufacturing purposes.

The bill, once approved, would replace a moratorium that began Dec. 20.

The council also voted 5-0 to perfect a bill introduced last month by Fraser that would require owners of all commercial and industrial properties to restore the sites to their pre-built condition if they are demolished.

Third District Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, R-Town and Country, and 7th District Councilman Greg Quinn, R-Ballwin, abstained on the vote.

Proponents of the bill, including County Executive Charlie Dooley, contend it would curb the practice of property owners abandoning sites once they’re demolished and leaving behind contaminants that could harm the public.

Stenger told the Call he also believes the law could help stimulate economic development because restored properties would be more appealing to prospective tenants, who in turn would bring jobs to the county.

However, representatives from the Missouri Growth Association, the St. Louis Association of Realtors and the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers expressed concern to the council last week that the ordinance is too broad.

Complete building removal and site restoration may be too costly for some property owners, who may decide to just leave behind an empty building, they said.