City Council Tuesday: Whether City Should Allow Dogs to Be Tethered, Development on Lee Hwy and More

Plus, a plan for the future regarding City parks and recreation, and a retirement celebration.

The City Council will tackle a number of issues in its first meeting of 2014 Tuesday night. (Photo: Jennifer van der Kleut/Patch)
The City Council will tackle a number of issues in its first meeting of 2014 Tuesday night. (Photo: Jennifer van der Kleut/Patch)
The City Council will tackle a number of issues for its first public meeting of 2014 Tuesday evening.

Should the City allow dogs to be tethered?

The City Council will hear a report by Chief of Police Rick Rappoport Tuesday night as to what the police department thinks about continuing to allow the practice of tethering dogs.

According to City documents, the police department has received at least 10 complaints about a family on McLean Avenue that tethers their dog for long periods of time.

However, the City has sent out a number of officials to investigate—including Animal Control officers, as well as a representative from the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)—and each time, they have found the dog to be healthy and well cared for, with a tether that is long enough to allow the dog to play, explore, and reach a full bowl of water. In addition, the investigations determined that the dog is not left out 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"This may be a case of neighbors that have a different point of view on what constitutes adequate care and what constitutes animal neglect, but there is no violation of any city or state law [here]," Chief Rappoport said in a memo to City officials.

In the memo, Chief Rappoport further states that, in his opinion, the City's laws regarding the tethering of animals are in accordance with state and federal laws, and are sufficient, and do not need updating or any further restrictions added.

The City Council will hear the chief's presentation and discuss whether they agree or whether they think the law should be more restrictive.

Do you think the practice of tethering dogs is cruel? Do you feel the current law is adequate? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Retirement Celebration for Long-Time City Treasurer

After 30 years of service to Fairfax City, Steven Moloney, City Treasurer, has retired.

"Former Treasurer Steve Moloney served the City of Fairfax with great distinction," Councilman Dan Drummond said on Facebook Monday.

Mayor Scott Silverthorne and the members of the City Council will honor Moloney in a celebration at City Hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday, immediately before the City Council meeting begins. For information, call 703-385-7850. 

Development of Vacant Portion of Lee Highway

A public hearing will be held during Tuesday night's City Council meeting to gather feedback on a proposed new development, to be located along vacant parcels of land along the west side of 9538 Lee Highway, just north of Fairfax Circle. See a City drawing of the location in the photos above.

The proposed development would consist of an 8,664-square-foot, one-story retail building, set back about 90 feet from the street, and surrounded by a concrete patio in the front, and sidewalks along the side and rear. 

The land is split between City and County ownership, with roughly two-thirds falling on the City's side of the line and one-third on the County side.

According to City documents, the County Planning Commission and the City Planning Commission have already approved the proposed development. The County Board of Supervisors is set to review the proposal Tuesday night as well. 

The Fairfax City Council will review the plans and hear public feedback during Tuesday's meeting, which the public is invited to attend and participate in.

Review the City's full staff report here.

Presentation of City Parks Plan

For the past eight months, the City's Parks and Recreation Department has been engaging residents through its "Our Parks, Our Future" campaign to discover what they want out of their city's parks and recreation programs.

The huge effort by the department has consisted of five public workshops, 21 stakeholder meetings, countless surveys completed both by mail and online, and a comprehensive website at www.ourparksourfuture.com.

As a result of all that feedback, the department will soon be moving forward with a multi-phase program to integrate a wealth of ideas and improve both the city's physical parks as well as the variety of recreational opportunities and activities offered in Fairfax City.

During a work session at the end of Tuesday night's council meeting, the Parks and Recreation Department will make a presentation to the City Council detailing the findings of its eight-month campaign and discussing a strategy for moving forward with phase one of its integration.

The public is invited to attend the work session, though public comment is not accepted during work sessions.

Did you attend any of the public Our Parks, Our Future workshops? What would you like to see different about the city's parks or recreational offerings? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.


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johanna wertz January 14, 2014 at 08:11 AM
Regarding being tethered outside...I think the law should be stricter regarding tethering dogs in very hot, and very cold weather,also in heavy rain & snow...and dogs should be brought inside at night..also, dogs that are constantly tethered are usually not socialized..and could become mean if they get loose..dogs are companion animals..pets, why get one if you keep it outside? concerned in Fairfax City
Catherine S. Read January 14, 2014 at 09:13 AM
Growing up in Christiansburg, VA, our dog wandered around without a leash and lived in doghouse in the backyard. That was in the 1960s. We later got a hunting dog that had an outside doghouse inside a dog run. We loved them dearly, they were pets, but they were never in the house. This concept of pets being strictly indoor "members of the family" is very recent in my experience. My current dog lives entirely indoors and has a fenced yard and goes for daily walks. We have a tendency to project our own values on other people and to judge them according our own beliefs. And cultural norms change with time. Having an "outside" pet is not cruel or inhumane - it's just not common in the city anymore, and we live in a denser area where more people are aware of what their neighbors are doing. If the dog isn't creating a noise issue and the police have verified (numerous times) that it's well cared for, is it our neighbor's business to judge their relationship with their pet? I think that's a slippery slope to head down.
Ami Bresson January 14, 2014 at 01:01 PM
As long as the dog is well cared for and has access to water it should be fine. It's safe and is a good alternative to having no fence. Neighbors need to stop bugging this person. The dog has been cleared by ASPCA and Animal Control. It's fine, leave them alone. You get dogs for a number of reasons, protection being one of them. The article said they don't keep it out there all the time so it's fine. In my experience, dogs prefer to be outside where they can watch what goes on around them. They get bored being inside all the time. I have two dogs who only want in for a few moments at a time then they want out again. I have a fenced yard but they essentially want to be out during the day and I bring them in at night. Tethering is a safe way to keep your dog from running away and being even more of a problem but they can stay outside and enjoy watching the birds, cars and neighbors. Chill about it. Remember, dogs were wild once. We humans domesticated them but that doesn't mean we have to keep them indoors all the time. Let them enjoy life and be outdoors.
B N January 14, 2014 at 02:29 PM
Why is this non-issue in front of city council? The police have responded to ten complaints and the local SPCA and Animal Control are involved. A handful of people will stand in front of council and tearfully talk about cruelty to animals. Council will then create a task force to investigate this "problem" - a waste of taxpayer money and time. By the way, before I'm attacked by the animal rights groups, I have two dogs, have always had dogs, have a fenced yard in which they play (they have never been tethered nor any of their predecessors), and they live in our house with the family. Some dogs are fence-climbers (I used to have one). Better to tether than have the dog lost or hit by a car. I also assist in locating lost dogs and know the sadness when pets are lost and not found. I think these "neighbors" need to MYOB.


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