The ordinance’s failure puts to rest an issue that has been discussed since March and lacked significant community support during city council meetings and two public hearings. Not a single community member had come forward to support the ordinance until the July 21 meeting, while several Karnes City citizens spoke against the proposed ordinance on several different occasions.
The ordinance would have given the Karnes City Police Department authority to detain loose livestock, an authority that will remain strictly with the sheriff’s department. Critics of the ordinance expressed concerns that language was too vague and many aspects of it unenforceable. Additionally, Chapter 142 of the Texas Agriculture Code addresses many of the same issues addressed by the failed local ordinance.
“Any law that we put in place is always rife with considerations and concerns and things that make life more difficult,” Karnes City Mayor Don Tymrak said. “From what I’ve seen at these meetings and public hearings, I don’t see how I could get behind this at all.”
Tymrak kept the floor open for 15 minutes July 21 during the second public hearing for the failed animal ordinance. Upon opening the meeting, Tymrak asked those in attendance if anyone was prepared to speak in support of the ordinance, and initially saw no hands raised. The one community member who did speak in favor of the ordinance took issue with individuals who keep animals in the city limits.
“I have a problem with people who have animals in a small area,” she said. “There is a smell of urine, of feces, the flies. I didn’t buy a house in town to have animals in town.”
City Administrator Larry Pippen, who recommended not adopting the ordinance, said that concerns of this nature could be addressed by the city’s health and nuisance ordinances.
Robinson, who was the lone voice of dissention in voting down the ordinance, briefly explained its origins before voting took place.
“I’m somewhat opposed to the ordinance as written because I don’t think loose livestock is as much of a problem as what’s written,” he said. “When I brought this to Larry (Pippen’s) attention it was more to address people having animals on a city lot. We need to delineate what the acreage is… something that says if you are on a city lot you can or can’t have chickens. What I think we need is to have something that addresses that in the city... That was the whole point of what I wanted from this and then it went off in a completely different direction.”