Chester council hears complaints of stray dogs harassing citizens

by Michael G. Maness

Mayor Floyd Petri convened the Chester City Council Monday evening, January 9, at its regular time. He led the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag, and citizen guest Vernon Lewis led an invocation.

City Secretary Annette Hickman read the minutes to the previous meeting. The council approved the minutes and financial statement for the city and Chester Gas Company. The council also approved an agreement with the county for maintenance of the roads, renewal of their liability insurance, and the budget for the city.

Petri welcomed two citizens who came to share concerns. First, Vernon Lewis shared concerns over stray dogs around the city. Vernon claimed that one had bitten his grandchild. The school superintendent himself had to chase off a few dogs when they harassed some of the Chester ISD staff. Lewis reported that walkers at the city park feared leaving their car because of the dogs. After researching the issue, Petri had explained that a 20-plus-year-old ordinance had been rescinded because there was no ability to enforce it. Petri empathized with Lewis, and several issues were discussed, including the county's absence of a dog pound. While there was little the city could do, Petri noted that they would look closer at developing options if problems persist. It also appeared some of the dog owners may have already taken action, as fewer strays have been seen in the last week or two.

Second, citizen Everett Powell expressed his frustration over election protocols at the local Mason's lodge. He had previously reported some alleged violations and he desired for the elections to be held elsewhere, even at the Chester City Hall. Petri surveyed the council members present, inquiring about precedents.

Both issues regarding the dogs and where to host the elections will be on the agenda of the next meeting.