Thursday, September, 22, 2005
stresses need for animal control
The Marshall County Humane Society warned the board of supervisors that animal populations, particularly dogs, are a growing problem in the entire county, especially in the northern portion which is more densely populated with humans.
Sherry Janssen, president of the Society, called unpenned dogs a public safety issue due to insufficient animal control in Marshall County. She said spay/neuter clinics are the best method of prevention populations from exploding.
Janssen said spay/neuter services the Humane Society offers is proven to help keep down uncared for animals, a vital element of animal control. The Humane Society assisted with neutering of 4,000 pets last year but more services are needed, she said.
The Society has asked the board of supervisors for animal ordinances to help control breeding of free roaming pets, as well as support for neutering services.
Board attorney Tacey Clark Clayton said supervisors are studying a simple set of ordinances. But stronger animal control will require that resources be allotted, she said.
Janssen said dog bites and attacks as well as transmissible diseases are concerns.
The Marshall County Humane Society takes as many pets as it can find homes for, but because of limited resources, those who adopt pets must pay for shots and neutering offered at reduced prices through the cooperation of veterinarians.
Janssen provided two examples of where animal control ordinances would have made a big difference - one where poisoned bait was used by an individual to get rid of a dog pack and the other when an animal collector took in too many strays. In another instance a young lady had to be cut from her vehicle after hitting a horse on the road. In another case a pit bull got loose and attacked and maimed or killed a neighbors miniature horses.
George Karr said yard dogs were causing most of the problems when they pack with a female in estrus then become dangerous to people taking a walk or children waiting for the school bus.
The Humane Societys goals are to offer low-cost spay/neutering and education, he said.
He said the local chapter has no outside funding and is operated by volunteers.
I think those who dont keep their dogs up and let them breed indiscriminately should have to pay for part of the cost, he said. I urge you to allocate as much as possible to hiring a trained person to do the job (of animal control). If not enough is allocated in this (the countys) budget, the project is doomed to fail.
Supervisor Keith Taylor said not a day goes by when he doesnt get a call about a neglected horse or a dog or puppies - that the lack of animal control has been a problem since he came into office six years ago.
Its a problem thats not going away, he said. I dont want to wait until a child is attacked by a vicious animal before the county does something.
Supervisor Willie Flemon agreed, saying animal control problems will become an even bigger issue as the countys population grows.
It will get bigger and bigger, he said. Somebody has to step up to the plate, the tax payers and citizens, and put some funds in there. Thats the bottom line in my book.
Janssen said if more people would get their animals fixed there would be fewer stray animals. She called for a collective effort among the elected officials to get something done.
Carmen Marlin quoted statistics. Communities that have 70 percent of their pets spayed stabilize their animal population, she said, and animal adoption can work effectively to handle the rest.
Taylor said the board of supervisors needs some direction to get animal control solved by way of ordinances requiring pets to be kept in pens.
I put this right up here (in priority) with fire protection and safety, he said.
Karr said the Humane Society cannot pick up all puppies that are dropped off on the roadsides; that the Societys main emphasis is on safety, and money is needed to solve animal problems.
Janssen said local volunteers with the Society are flying by the seat of our pants.
We are learning a lot fumbling through it ourselves, she said. Also, if we make people accountable about loose animals. Right now its free wheeling.
She added that quick solutions such as shooting strays is a rough way to solve a problem.
Taylor said the board had set October as a target date to get ordinances on the books.
It does not cost money to pass an ordinance to say you cant have a vicious animal running loose, he said.
Janice Busby retold her story of the attack of her miniature horses in the barn by a loose pit bull.
I dont want to have another blood bath, animal wise or people wise, she said.
Clayton advised that to have ordinances money is required to enforce them.
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett asked Busby if an ordinance is passed can anyone tell which animal is vicious and which not.
No. I think we need a law to pen them up, she said.
Dogs can be good pets or vicious, Bennett said. Some pit bulls are made vicious by training them to fight, he said.
Busby said a lot of U.S. cities and counties have banned the breed.
I am saying, make owners be responsible to house the dog, she said.
Bennett said the board is looking for animal control ordinances that will be fair to all concerned.
In other business, the board:
Regular meetings of the board of supervisors are scheduled for 9 a.m. on October 3 and 10 and for 5 p.m. on October 17. All meetings are held in the court room at 103B Market Street, Holly Springs.
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