Friday, January 20, 2012
Flower Mound Town Council prohibits dog, cat auctions
The ordinance was in response to a puppy auction that was supposed to take place in October.
The Flower Mound Town Council on Thursday unanimously approved an ordinance that will ban the auctioning of dogs and cats in town limits.
This item was brought forward, with a recommendation from the town's Animal Services Board, following an incident last October when the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce was planning to auction off a puppy during a silent auction at the Fiesta Live event.
After public outcry, the chamber decided not to auction off the puppy. But members of the community urged for an ordinance to be passed to prohibit this from happening in the future since no such ordinance exists.
Those who opposed the idea argued that buying a puppy should be a careful decision and that a live auction is not the place to make that decision.
Others questioned the type of puppies that are available at auctions.
"These types of puppies usually come from backyard breeders or from puppy mills," said Stacy Smith, a volunteer for the Humane Society of Flower Mound. "Reputable breeders don't breed puppies for auctions. They screen them just like we do."
The law does not affect events that happen outside of Flower Mound, which was the case with Fiesta Live.
"Flower Mound took a hit for this [auction] when this wasn't even a town event," said Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Steve Lyda, who urged that this item be brought up. "But with this ordinance, it will make sure that something like this never happens in Flower Mound."
The ordinance also does not prohibit an event from auctioning off certificates for a dog or cat. One way a certificate could be used would be to waive fees at a pet adoption location. Supporters of the ordinance said that would still allow a family to make a careful decision about an adoption.
The ordinance does not apply to livestock.
Also Thursday, the council decided to table a decision to lower the prima facie speed limits from 30 mph to 25 mph on 37 streets in the Bridlewood and Saddle Oaks subdivisions. Council members were concerned about the lack of resident input.
Under the town policy, streets are eligible to be reduced to 25 mph if they are within a quarter mile of a school or a construction zone for a major or minor arterial streets.
In this case, 20 of these streets are within a quarter mile of a school property and nine of them are with a quarter mile of a construction zone for a major or minor arterial streets. Eight of them are located outside the quarter-mile requirement, but an amendment to the policy in 2010 allows for an exception request, which the two subdivisions submitted.
But Councilman Mark Wise, who lives in Bridlewood, questioned the process taken to get resident input.
"The survey was sent out as part of a newsletter," Wise said. "There were only 200 emails sent out [to residents], and there are 1,300 homes in Bridlewood. That doesn't seem like a good pick for the whole neighborhood."
Also Thursday, the council discussed various ways to improve the working relationship between the town and developers. Some council members have long been talking about the negative feedback they hear from the development community, saying the town is hard to work with.
Council member Kendra Stephenson said she researched various cities' development approval process and found one in particular, Silicon Valley, that gets the project approval done in one day.
She said that while major projects can't be expected to go that quickly, she said others can.
"How do we get the process moving quicker," Stephenson said. "We need a streamline process instead of just asking developers what did we do wrong."
Stephenson was referring to a 2007 survey the town conducted with developers to determine what problems the development community has encountered with Flower Mound.
She added that a good goal would be to take the average amount of time it takes for the approval process to take place and decrease it to half that.
Councilman Tom Hayden said the town should look at other cities' ordinances to see if Flower Mound's standards are so high that it makes the town uncompetitive. He suggested a resident review committee.
Mayor Melissa Northern said there is a new software package the town is about to purchase that she said could speed up the process.
The council is expected to continue this discussion at its strategic planning session Friday and Saturday.
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