Petition addresses ordinance changes

Published 1:26 pm Thursday, August 10, 2017

GATESVILLE – As part of her comments at last week’s Gates County Commissioners meeting concerning the death of a pit bull, Carol Whitt presented the board with a petition, bearing 224 signatures, calling for revisions to the county’s animal welfare ordinances.

She also presented a list of proposed changes to the county’s ordinances.   

“The individuals signing this petition share my passion for animal welfare. We’ve got to do better,” Whitt told the board.

“I’m standing before you again,” Whitt continued. “Commissioner (Linda) Hofler, you told me three years ago that we cannot tell people how to love their animals. You’re right, we can’t. But we can tell them how they have to care for them. We can give them standards, where’s there is no reading in-between the lines. If you have a dog chained to a plastic doghouse in the middle of the sun with absolutely no shade, that does not mean shelter. And to give (a dog owner) 24 hours to feed or water, when the temperature is 100 degrees, that water is already hot within three hours. Would you drink it? We need to hold our animal owners accountable.”

The petition Whitt presented to the commissioners reads as follows:

Current animal Welfare Ordinances have not proven effective to protect pets/domestic animals from inhumane treatment by owners or their designees, resulting in distress and death. More than one pet/domestic animal has died in the past 12 months in Gates County from lack of basic provisions for humane care; i.e., food, shelter, water. Revisions and additions are necessary to ensure humane treatment of the county’s pets/domestic animals, as well as to ensure that Animal Control Officers have clearly defined ordinances for enforcement purposes.

The following ordinances should be amended to read as follows:

201.1 – Adequate feed: change the last section of the first sentence that reads “…not to exceed 24 hours. to read “… not to exceed 12 hours.’

201.2 – Adequate water: change the end of the sentence that reads “not to exceed 24 hours” to read”…not to exceed 12 hours. In extreme temperatures, i.e., above 90 degrees or below freezing, water shall be checked and replenished if necessary at intervals not to exceed 6 hours.’

201.9 – Inhumane Conditions: Add; “overgrown grass 6′ or more.”

201.15 – Proper Shelter: Revise definition to read:  “Proper shelter means provision of and access to shelter that is suitable for the species, age, condition, size, and type of each animal; provides adequate space for each animal; is safe and protects each animal from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight, the adverse effects of heat or cold, physical suffering, and impairment of health; is properly lighted; is properly cleaned; enables each animal to be clean and dry, except when detrimental to the species; and, for dogs and cats, provides a solid surface, resting platform, pad, floor mat, or similar device that is large enough for the animal to lie on in a normal manner and can be maintained in a sanitary manner. Shelters whose wire, grid, or slat floors permit the animals’ feet to pass through the openings, sag under the animals’ weight, or otherwise do not protect the animals’ feet or toes from injury are not adequate shelter, Dogs’ shelters can be commercially made or custom built as long as there are three walls, a floor as described above, and a secure roof. Must be accompanied by a separate overhang, structurally sound canopy, A-frame, and/or lean to covering the house to protect against rain, wind, snow, hail, sleet, and/or sun. Plastic carriers and plastic or wood houses alone do not meet the requirements of proper shelter.”

315.1 Section (a): Amend the sentence “clean fresh food at intervals not to exceed 24 hours… to read “…clean fresh food at intervals not to exceed 12 hours.”

316.3 Standards for chains/tethering a dog: Revise definition to read: Unattended tethering of dogs is prohibited. It shall be unlawful to tether any unattended dog whether or not the dog has been provided adequate space. Attended tethering is allowed as long as an adult is present and tethering does not exceed 60 minutes. An attended tethered dog must have a chain cable, or tether designed to be attached to a harness only, and shall not exceed 10% of the animal’s body weight, and shall have swivels at both ends to prevent twisting and tangling. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a class 4 misdemeanor.

Addition of Ordinance 316.5 under Section 316 Outdoor Standards to read: “A primary outdoor enclosure/kennel for one dog must have adequate space to allow the dog to run about freely, to stand, sit, and lie in a comfortable normal position and to walk in a normal manner. Additionally, the interior height of the primary enclosure must be at least 6′ higher than the head of the dog measured when the dog is standing in a normal comfortable position. It must contain housing and a covering from the weather. It must be clean and free from waste, debris, and grass kept cut to 6′ or less.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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