Council Ponders 30 Pound Cats And The Future

On a crowded agenda, the items that drew the largest crowd at this week’s City Council session were the three ordinances on pets.

Several dozen people showed up for what turned into a lengthy council debate on the merits of spay/neuter requirements.

Among the more vocal council members on the subject was Barbara Swearengen Ware.

“Some people think I don’t like dogs. Dogs don’t like me,” the former postal worker said.

One of the ordinances originally called for mandatory spay/neutering of dogs and cats weighing 30 pounds or more.

“I have never seen a 30 pound cat,” council member Janis Fullilove said. “Why is that in there?”

“In an effort to prevent feline obesity?” sponsor Shea Flinn offered tentatively.

Council member Wanda Halbert proposed and the council approved an amendment taking out the weight requirement.

Among those in the audience supporting the measure were Lucas and Laura Hoge of Nashville.

Lucas Hoge is among the animal rescuers featured regularly on the Animal Planet television show “Last Chance Highway.” The show documents the journey of stray dogs in Memphis and other Southern cities to Northern cities.
Aisling Maki wrote about the program’s Memphis connections in Tuesday’s edition of The Daily News.

Hoge is also a musician and confessed on his Facebook page to some jitters about speaking to the council.

“Wonder if they would let me sing instead. I think I could handle that,” he wrote.

Hoge and his wife expressed their support for the spay/neuter provisions.

They needn’t have been nervous.

It was a long day for the council that lasted over 12 hours, starting with committee sessions at 8:30 that morning.

By the early afternoon, the committee sessions were turning up some rhetorical gems.

Council member Joe Brown declared for all to hear that children are the city’s future and followed that with “There’s no future in it’s elderly people.”

When that committee session ran long and Brown was told to wrap up, he added, “That’s what government is about – running out of time – running out of resources.”

Several hours later, the council was in a playful mood after passing the pet ordinances.

Among the other items left on the agenda was $510,844 for some landscaping and renovation work at Lamar and South Parkway that will include a wrought iron fence, shrubs and a new pedestrian walkway at the busy South Memphis intersection.

Several council members, including chairman Harold Collins, noted the intersection is near the home of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. The park services projects includes $400,000 in state grant money.

“I’m not going there,” Collins said of the mayoral connection before having some fun with it several more times.

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