The West York Borough Council failed to muster enough votes Monday night to override the mayor's veto of the borough's recently passed dog tethering ordinance.
Citing a number of reasons, including a bill that is currently in the state house that addresses the issue, Mayor Sam Firestone said he vetoed the anti-tethering ordinance on Sept. 19.
The council approved the measure by a slim 4-3 margin during its Sept. 8 meeting.
It failed to override Firestone's veto with a 4-2 vote Monday. Council president Steve Herman and member Nancy Laird cast the dissenting votes, and Shane Louthian was not present.
The majority of the entire council plus an additional vote must approve a measure in order for a veto to be overridden.
Veto: In early February, the SPCA sent out packets to every municipality in York County, asking them to consider adopting a tethering-restriction ordinance. Enclosed in each packet was a proposed ordinance crafted by the SPCA and the Humane Society of the United States.
The SPCA's humane police officer enforces the law at no cost to the municipality. Dog owners who violate the law will first receive a warning, then could be cited and fined.
But Firestone said the ordinance could be challenged in the courts at a cost to West York taxpayers. He also said a bill in the House would address the tethering issue.
That bill, which would be enforced by police, was referred to the judiciary committee in February 2011 and has yet to be voted on since.
"When it's passed, you'll have what you want," Firestone said.
Opposition: A number of council members and residents spoke against the mayor's veto and urged the council to re-adopt the ordinance.
Todd Lippy said he used to need earplugs to sleep because a neighbor left a barking dog outside all night.
The dog and the neighbor caused problems throughout the neighborhood, he said.
"It's not just me, it's everyone," he said.
With the SPCA enforcing the tethering law, councilwoman Dawn Shue, who voted in favor of the override, said it would free police officers' valuable time instead of having them deal with animal issues.
Council member Brian Wilson also voted to override the veto and said the House bill has been stalled for so long that boroughs should pass ordinances in an effort to force the state to address the issue.
Tethering a dog outside for long periods of time is inhumane and shouldn't be tolerated in West York, said council woman Shelley Metzler, a longtime supporter of the ordinance.
"This is a form of animal abuse. They (dogs) have hearts and souls, unlike some people in this room," Metzler said.
- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.