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Ordinance to restrict lions, tigers and bears in White Oak

Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 3:16 a.m.
 

White Oak councilors unanimously approved on Monday night to advertise amendments to two ordinances pertaining to animals.

Amendments regarding the regulation of wild, exotic and farm animals, and allotted time for barking dogs are expected to be formally adopted next month.

“We're (defining better) what exotic, wild and farm animals are,” borough Solicitor Jessica Crown said. “Lions and tigers and bears were not in the original ordinance. Really you could have maintained a lion on your property ... So they're going to be banned within the borough unless they're in a zoo property. One of the other issues with farm animals, they're now going to be restricted on properties of 5 acres or more. It includes further restrictions for keeping small animals such as bunnies, making sure they're kept in a pen. There are really no (current) restrictions on farm animals.”

Councilwoman Carrie Verbanick-Noll said the borough has received an increase in requests from property owners to have such animals.

“Many people in White Oak don't own 5 acres of property,” Verbanick-Noll said. “We're in much smaller lots. We're trying to define in what space can you have certain animals.”

Councilors plan to reduce the amount of time a dog must be continuously barking before a noise violation can be issued, from 1 12 hours to 30 minutes.

“It's really just going to help the residents of White Oak,” Verbanick-Noll said. “You come here looking for a nice quiet place to live, an enjoyable, clean environment. We're just trying to keep on top of that.”

Verbanick-Noll said the borough is seeking grants to purchase noise-measuring equipment to better serve its code enforcement.

Mayor Ina Jean Marton said the animal and noise amendments only pertain to residential use, and will have no impact on shelters or commercial properties.

Council heard compliments from McKeesport resident and White Oak property owner Terri Kisan about Bryn Mawr Playground off Vermont Avenue.

Kisan said it has become a great place to play.

“Last summer there was one basketball net and one hoop,” Kisan said. “This summer I was very happy to see that there's two hoops, two rims, two nets, and a lot of activity ... It's busy. It's exciting. It's fun for the younger kids for them to learn how to play that street ball.”

Council president Dave Pasternak announced there will be a special executive session on June 10 at 7 p.m. for personnel matters.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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