St. Landry

May 8, 2012 11:23 PM by Maddie Garrett

Council Fires Dog Catcher, Passes Horse Introductory Ordinance

A controversial case for the Opelousas City Council was closed Tuesday, with another hot topic being opened.

Council members had to decide the fate of small animal warden, or dog-catcher, Donald Tyler.

"Mr. Tyler was offered two chances, and on both of the chances he failed," said Alderman Louis Butler, Jr., (District B).

Tyler was recently arrested and charged with an OWI after he was involved in an accident in a city vehicle. Originally, the council voted to go against his department head's recommendation to fire him, and let him keep his job. Many council members said that was on the basis that the OWI was his first infraction in 12 years of employment.

"I'm a firm believer in giving a person a second chance, but it seems as though Mr. Tyler has a pattern here," said Butler.

At a personnel meeting last week the council learned that Tyler was involved in another accident with a city vehicle in 2006. In that incident, the narcotic drug Darvocet was found in his system. This stirred up mixed reactions.

"The man needs a chance, give the man a chance. You do that for everybody. You don't bring up a thing of the past and use it again, it's just not right," said Alderman at Large Joe Charles.

Butler said this case must set a precedent for other employees.

"If you let one person continue to abuse this type of precedence then we're going to have a problem down the line with the others," he said.

The vote on whether to terminate Tyler was tied in the council. Reggie Tatum, Jacqueline Martin and Charles voted against firing Tyler. Blair Briggs, Julius Alsandor and Butler voted for firing Tyler. Mayor Donald Cravins broke the tie by voting to fire Tyler.

While the council wrapped up Tyler's case, it opened up the floor to another controversial issue involving horses in the city.

The council unanimously passed an introductory ordinance that would limit horse riding in the city to only special events with permits and would require owners to have at least an acre of land for the horses to live on.

"These horses actually need some type of property for them to graze on, because these people are misusing most of these horses," said Butler.

A public hearing will be held next month on the horse ordinance.



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