Anderson County Council to address animal related issues

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Next meeting July 12

By Stan Welch

The Anderson County Council did not meet on the first Tuesday of July, since Monday is the Fourth of July. But at the first July meeting, on the 12th, Council will consider revisions to the county’s animal ordinance that are stirring good bit of public interest. A public hearing on the proposed amendments will be held at that meeting.

Proposed by District Four Councilman Tom Allen, the amended ordinances cleans up several administrative issues, such as confirming that the animal control operations are under the Sheriff’s jurisdiction, and not environmental services. Also, the jurisdiction of the county administrator’s office over PAWS, or the animal shelter operations, is clarified and confirmed.

Allen said that concerns that the changes are designed to alter the administrative structure which handles animal control issues are completely without merit. “ These changes, mostly in language, serve to clarify responsibilities and authorities. They do not change them We heard all these same things three years ago.”

Allen explained that the Council made several changes to the ordinance three years ago to address the issue of puppy mills in the county. “We saw then that the entire ordinance probably needed cleaning up, but then this guy Amari shot a dog a while back, and we realized there is no real ordinance to address that sort of thing.”

So Section 42, paragraph 118B was added to the effect that anyone euthanizing an animal must have it done by a state certified technician or a veterinarian. In other words, a dog owner who decides to put a dog down by shooting it would be in violation of the law. There are a number of exceptions included in that section, designed to bring the county ordinance in line with state law.

For example, a severely injured animal who would only suffer more by the efforts to transport it could be put down immediately. Also, an animal which threatens someone, perhaps as a result of disease or infection could be dispatched on the spot. Animals damaging or endangering livestock are another exemption to the law.

Allen said that the technicians at the animal shelter would perform the procedure for those unable to afford it at private veterinarian facilities. “Cost should not be a factor in this decision.”

Allen conceded that enforcement of the ordinance will be almost impossible, but said that such a law needs to be on the books so that when someone is caught, a legal remedy will be in place already.