Residents voice complaints about traffic, loose dogs

By By Justin Phillips / American Press

The grievances of residents took center

stage at Tuesday’s City Council agenda meeting. The first issue dealt

with dangerous

traffic along Benoit Lane on to Jennifer Street. Councilman Mark

Eckard introduced the group that spoke at the meeting. Some

talked about close calls neighbors have had with drivers speeding

down the road while others just mentioned the nuisances

associated with the traffic.

Eckard has been behind the efforts to find solutions to the traffic problems along the two roads, including requesting that

police spend time in the area. In an effort to provide additional options, councilman Rodney Geyen suggested the residents

look into financing “speed humps” along the road.

At the end of the discussion, Public Works Director Mister Edwards said a traffic study would be completed in the area. Future

decisions on how to help the flow of traffic along the roads would be based on that information.

“There’s a certain number of cars in a certain amount of time that has to come through there. Then we’ll recommend what needs

to go in there,” Edwards said.

The biggest discussion of the evening

was about loose dogs in a neighborhood. Several residents of Booker

Street told stories

about their encounters with some of the large-breed dogs in that

area. The council also heard stories from the residents about

the responses they have gotten from Calcasieu Parish Animal

Services.

The conversation itself was a continuation from one earlier in the month when residents from the same neighborhood made similar

complaints. City attorney Billy Loftin steered the discussion during the meeting.

Corey Rubin, assistant city attorney,

told the council that Animal Services recommended the council revisit

ordinances concerning

dangerous dogs. With that information, Loftin provided the council

with an ordinance that would allow the city to amend the

definition of vicious and dangerous dogs in the city’s code. The

city would also be able to amend other provisions to address

related issues.

He went on to talk about how there is a section in the code that addresses dogs “running at large.”

“The minute it gets off her property, it’s prohibited. It’s a violation,” Loftin said. “Animal Control can say whatever they

want. We’re not getting what we’re paying for. That’s all I have to say.”

Loftin said the information about the dangerous dog label is being made more complicated than it should be. He reiterated

how his frustration stemmed from those residents not feeling safe in their own neighborhood.

“They’re playing wordsmith and games with the definition of dangerous and vicious,” Loftin said. “It’s a game with the Calcasieu

Parish Police Jury staff with not wanting to do the job we contracted with them to do. I don’t know how else to say it.”

The council’s next regular meeting will feature a few familiar items. The council will revisit the recent decisions by Lake

Charles Alcohol Review Board to strip several gas stations of their liquor licenses.

The gas stations were associated with recent synthetic urine busts by the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office. The council will

also look at adjudicated properties.