Wild animal acts target of proposed city ordinance

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PITTSFIELD — A citizen group is petitioning the City Council to adopt an ordinance barring "the display of non-domesticated animals for entertainment."

Councilors also were asked for a review of city health policies for disposing of hypodermic needles found in parks or elsewhere after normal hours for health personnel, and they received two requests related to parking in the downtown.

The council received petitions last week with approximately 50 signatures in favor of an ordinance to ban the use of animals such as elephants in circus, carnival or other events.

The proposal states in part that, "No living non-domesticated animal shall be displayed for public entertainment or amusement ... As used in this paragraph, 'displayed' shall include, but is not limited to, animal acts and performances, and competition and rides."

The ordinance would not apply to domestic animals, such as dogs, cats, horses, donkeys and farm animals, according to the petition.

Leslie Luppino, speaking during the public comment segment of the June 14 meeting, urged the council to make Pittsfield "one of the growing number of communities all over the world" to have passed similar bans.

Terry Carlow told councilors acts with wild animals "are not benign things that come to town to entertain children," and can present a risk for the public in terms of accidents.

The proposed ordinance was referred to the council's Ordinance and Rules Committee for review.

Councilors Peter White and Donna Todd Rivers submitted a petition calling for "an overview of the city's current policies and procedures regarding hypodermic syringes with needles and other information regarding a solution to this public health issue."

Rivers said discarded needles are increasingly found in city parks and other locations and present a potential health hazard if not disposed of safely. She said the councilors would like clarification on who members of the public should contact after normal business hours for the Health Department.

White said volunteer work crews often find needles from apparent drug use during cleanup efforts in parks.

The request was referred to the council's Public Health and Safety Committee.

Councilor Christopher Connell submitted a petition requesting additional handicap parking spaces in the downtown area, saying that recent construction projects have exacerbated a shortage of spaces. He added that he has not gotten a good response with his request from public works officials.

"I am sick of getting the run-around," he said.

The councilor requested that the issue be referred to the city solicitor's office and to the Ordinance and Rules Committee for development of an ordinance specifying city regulations for handicap spaces that call for one space for every 10 regular spaces.

And the council approved Councilor Nicholas Caccamo's request to remove "no parking signs" from 1230-46 East St., following a petition from residents of the area.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6246.


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