LOSTANT — Resident Robert Maziarka during Monday night’s regular board meeting confronted Lostant village board members who voted to reinstate a $175 kennel fee for owners of three or more dogs. Maziarka asked trustees Ray Brierly, Mike Cooper and Dave Mertes individually to explain their vote.
Brierly said he would have made the fee even higher if it were up to him.
“I figure if you can afford three dogs, you can afford $175,” he said.
Cooper said he has a tenant who lives across the street from Maziarka and who has complained about his dogs. He also said he was personally attacked by a dog in the village recently.
“What basis does a kennel fee have on your personal issues with a dog?” Maziarka asked.
Mertes said the fee was intended to discourage owning three or more dogs.
“I think it’s a deterrent for people that shouldn’t have three dogs,” he said. “I would prefer it was $1,000 and that no one had three dogs.”
Maziarka asked if that was because Mertes doesn’t like dogs, to which he responded it had nothing to do with whether he likes them or not.
“I’ve had issues with people in town that have been irresponsible with more than two dogs,” Mertes said. “I’m not going to say their names here at the meeting.”
Maziarka argued that village ordinances should be based on population and what other towns are doing, rather than on the opinions of the trustees.
“That’s how laws get passed. I don’t know if you’re aware of that,” he said.
Mayor Fred Hartenbower stepped in when Maziarka raised his voice.
“That’s enough,” he said, adding that everyone had been given a chance to speak. “Now you can discuss it with me.”
Hartenbower said he would have raised the kennel fee to $500.
“Because the dog population was getting out of control,” he said. “Multiple people have been bitten here in the last year or two.”
“You can control one dog, you might be able to control two — three, I don’t feel you can.”
The fee had been $150 for years before it was raised to $175 recently. Trustee Tony Allison said the board asked him to research what other towns charged as a kennel fee. After tabling the issue for a few months while he gathered data, Allison proposed the village lower the fee to $100 at the April board meeting, and the motion passed.
Mertes, who was absent from the April meeting, made a motion at the May meeting to reinstate the $175 fee. Trustees were split on that vote, and the mayor broke the tie last month by voting to raise the fee back to $175.
Amy Flanery can be reached at (815) 220-6975 or email@example.com.