An­i­mal con­trol or­di­nance to be more like state’s

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers adopted a re­vised ver­sion of their an­i­mal con­trol or­di­nance at their Dec. 4 board meet­ing.

Jenny Carter with the county at­tor­ney’s of­fice pre­sented the board with the new or­di­nance and dis­cussed the changes. Carter said the an­i­mal con­trol or­di­nance needed to be re­vised due to the changes that were made to the state law ear­lier this year in deal­ing with dan­ger­ous and vi­cious dogs.

“The or­di­nance be­fore you tonight has some mi­nor changes to just make sure that our or­di­nance is con­sis­tent with the cur­rent state law,” Carter said.

Carter said one of the changes is to ex­pand the def­i­ni­tion of owner to in­clude the per­son ex­er­cis­ing con­trol over the an­i­mal.

Ac­cord­ing to the new an­i­mal or­di­nance, un­der Sec­tion II of En­force­ment and Vi­o­la­tions, Item F, now reads as fol­lows:

“The owner or, if no owner can be found, the cus­to­dian ex­er­cis­ing care and con­trol over any dog which while off the owner’s or cus­to­dian’s prop­erty causes in­jury, death, or dam­age di­rectly or in­di­rectly to any live­stock, poul­try or pet an­i­mal shall be civilly li­able to the owner of the live­stock, poul­try or pet an­i­mal for in­jury, death, or dam­age caused by the dog. The owner or, if no owner can be found, the cus­to­dian ex­er­cis­ing care and con­trol over any dog shall be li­able for and dam­age caused by such dog.”

Carter said there are also state law ex­cep­tions to an­i­mal cru­elty charges if some­one is de­fend­ing an­other per­son, their prop­erty, live­stock or pet.

The new an­i­mal con­trol or­di­nance now in­cludes th­ese changes, which now reads as fol­lows un­der Sec­tion III of Hu­mane Treat­ment of An­i­mals, Item H:

“No per­son shall com­mit the of­fense of cru­elty to an­i­mals by caus­ing death or un­jus­ti­fi­able phys­i­cal pain or suf­fer­ing to any an­i­mal by an act, an omis­sion, or will­ful ne­glect ex­cept that a per­son may (1) de­fend his or her per­son or prop­erty, or the per­son or prop­erty of an­other, from in­jury or dam­age be­ing caused by a dog or (2) kill any dog caus­ing in­jury or dam­age to any live­stock or poul­try or pet an­i­mal. The of­fense of cru­elty to an­i­mals is also pun­ish­able un­der state law.”

Carter told the board that the other changes made to the an­i­mal con­trol or­di­nance in­cor­po­rate the new re­spon­si­ble job own­er­ship law, which deals with dan­ger­ous and vi­cious dogs. She said the term “po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous dogs” is no longer the ter­mi­nol­ogy used and it has been re­placed with “dan­ger­ous and vi­cious dogs.” Changes un­der Sec­tion VI of Dan­ger­ous, Vi­cious and Ag­gres­sive An­i­mals Item A, Dan­ger­ous and Vi­cious Dogs now states the fol­low­ing:

“(1) Dan­ger­ous dogs shall be in­ves­ti­gated, clas­si­fied, con­trolled and pos­sessed in strict or­di­nance with the Ge­or­gia Dan­ger­ous Dog Con­trol Law, as the same shall be amended from time to time.”

The sec­tion con­tin­ues to re­place “po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous dogs” with “dan­ger­ous and vi­cious dogs.”

The Ge­or­gia Re­spon­si­ble Dog Owner Act was signed into law in May by Gov­er­nor Nathan Deal. Un­der the law, a “dan­ger­ous dog” means any dog that causes a punc­ture wound to a per­son, or ag­gres­sively at­tacks pos­ing an im­mi­nent threat of se­ri­ous in­jury to a per­son, or while off the owner’s prop­erty kills a pet.

Ac­cord­ing to the or­di­nance, a copy of the “Re­spon­si­ble Dog Own­er­ship Law” was at­tached to the or­di­nance for ref­er­ence.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, Com­mis­sioner Nancy Schulz made the mo­tion to ap­prove the changes to the or­di­nance. She added that she and Com­mis­sioner Tim Flem­ing have worked hard on the teth­er­ing — the act of ty­ing or chain­ing an­i­mals to sta­tion­ary ob­jects — sec­tion of the or­di­nance, but there was still work that needed to be done.

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