LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) - The Lowndes County Commission voted to update the pet ordinance for the first time since 2006.
The new changes include prohibiting the sales of pets in parking lots and stricter laws on chaining.
"We're excited about it happening. It's not perfect, but it's a big step in the right direction," says Valdosta-Lowndes County Humane Society board member William Whitesell.
Officials say many animals sold in parking lots by non-licensed breeders don't receive proper treatment before going to a new home.
"Our local veterinarians say they're seeing these animals for parvo and other disease that are costing these people who purchased these pets on impulse hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars," explains Paige Dukes with Lowndes County public relations.
Unlike the shelter that requires spaying and neutering many of these pets aren't fixed, contributing to a growing pet population the county can't handle.
"It's really a protection for our citizens as well as something that will have a positive impact on our overpopulation issue here in Lowndes County," Dukes explains.
"We hope it'll discourage people breeding pets at home. Like I said, there are already too many. There are more than there are homes for," adds Whitesell.
Along with banning pet sales in parking lots the new ordinance allows tethering, but bans chaining pets to stationary objects. Chaining is something the humane society has been fighting for for years.
"Many of us share a love for animals and to see them get treated better is a great accomplishment," Whitesell says.
The laws are effective immediately but the county also wants to make sure citizens understand them.
"We want to phase this in in a way that's comfortable for everyone. So give animal services a call if you have questions or need some help. They're there to assist," urges Dukes.
It's also important to know these new laws apply to the unincorporated areas of Lowndes County. For them to apply within city limits each city government would have to adopt the ordinance.