Animal Control Director Smart Web addressed the Board of Commissioners about a possible county-wide leash law during a called meeting last week. Web stated that having such a law in place would help to decrease the strays and unwanted animal population and will help eliminate the gray area surrounding roaming pets.
“The purpose of this is to create a harmonious society, where we can all lie in peace and keep our animals. We have been dealing with issues in the A-R district where Animal Control keeps getting complaints. I talked with the county manager about this and we are doing all we can do. However, some people refuse to put their animal up because they know there is no leash law in the county. We just want to make this an even playing field throughout the county,” said Web, noting that there is already a leash law in place inside the city limits.
Web also noted that implementing this law would help with the confusion of bordering streets where one is in the leash law district and one is not. He mentioned Atwater Road as an example where one end of it has to abide by the leash law, but a few blocks down the street, other residents don’t.
Commissioner Frank Spraggins asked Web how this would affect people who live on 50 acres and their pets had free range of their property; would Animal Control pick up the dogs that are maybe miles away from their house but still on their owner’s land?
Web answered they would not. He elaborated, saying Animal Control would not be driving around looking for dogs to pick up and they do not bother animals who are on their owner’s property. It is when they go onto someone else’s property and are causing a problem that they get a call and have to check it out.
County Manager Kyle Hood added that the areas that do not have a leash law also have a higher rate of citations for other things, such as nuisance or not having proper vaccinations or tags because owners can get away with not taking as good care of their pets as someone in a leash law area. He also noted that what they are looking at is not trying to put more restrictions on what you have to do with your animal at your house, but rather limiting the ability of your animal being able to interfere with your neighbors.
Web told the board that he feels the county could use the same language that is already in place for the residential areas and that if implemented he recommends giving citizens 60 days before they have to comply. After that, warnings would be given out first before any action is taken.
Commission Chairman Maurice Raines thanked Web for his comments and suggested to the board that they begin doing town hall meetings on the issue to educate the public and see how they feel about it before taking any action; the rest of the board agreed.