Tightening the leash on stray pets - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tightening the leash on stray pets

May 12, 2003

Dougherty County - The County is trying to control the pet population without taxing pet owners. The County Public Safety Committee discussed a new animal ordinance on Monday.

A stray dog roams along Old Pretoria Road. Stray animals are a common problem in parts of rural Dougherty County. Unlike the city of Albany, the County doesn't have an animal control ordinance. But, that might change soon. "Over the last 17 years, the issues of controlling the pet population has come up 6 or 7 times at least," said Commissioner Jack Stone.

Stone and other members of the Public Safety Committee tentatively approved a new animal ordinance. Under the law, pet owners can be fined anywhere from $100 to $1,000 if their animals are caught straying from their property. The ordinance cracks down on proper care and treatment of pets, and requires owners to get pets vaccinated for rabies annually.

The ordinance doesn't include a pet tax to pay for impoundment and deposition of stray animals. Commissioner and retired veterinarian Dr. Chuck Lingle says the ordinance is just the first step. "We must build a shelter, hire animal control officers, or pay the humane society to take care the pet deposition," said Lingle.

Last year, Commissioners voted against an animal control contract with the Humane Society because it was too expensive. The County may ask the city to join in building and operating their own shelter to save money.

The animal control ordinance will be brought in front of the entire commission at the next meeting on Monday. The leash law doesn't including working dogs, such as those used by hunters and law officers.

Posted at 5:50PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com