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Dog owners could face tighter regulations

POSTED: May 10, 2017 8:44 a.m.

Area residents addressed the Bryan County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night to ask for stricter regulations for dog owners.

AnneMarie Cinardo, spokeswoman for the group, said the county’s animal control ordinance should contain “a minimum standard of humane care” that dog owners should meet. The group first addressed the issue at the board’s March meeting and Cinardo met with animal control staff in April.

They are asking that the county’s animal control ordinance require that dogs not be tethered to a stationary object, such as a tree, that dogs have shelter from direct sunlight and inclement weather, and have access to water in a container that cannot be tipped over and spilled.

“Most dog owners are fine,” Cinardo said. “It’s only a few that aren’t.”

Cinardo said many problems arise from what she called “backyard breeders” involved with raising pit bulls for fighting purposes.

“When you see a bunch of dogs tethered in a yard, it’s always pit bulls, it’s not a bunch of collies,” she said.

After meeting with the county’s animal control staff, Cinardo said she agreed that people who tether dogs to a pulley is acceptable, especially for older residents who cannot walk their dogs but still want them to get exercise.

Cinardo said the group first approached the county in 2011 about the issue. Commissioners Chairman Carter Infinger said the board takes the issue seriously.

“All of us on the board are dog owners,” he said.

County Administrator Ben Taylor said the county has rescued 505 animals from “irresponsible pet owners” over the last three years and is able to prosecute under the state’s “Responsible Dog Owner’s Act” when necessary.

Taylor added that the county is updating all of its ordinances this year, including those dealing with animal control.

He also noted that the county plans to seek bids on a new animal control facility in late May. Construction on the 2,350-square-foot building in Pembroke is expected to start in late July and should take six months to complete.

In other business, commissioners also voted to extend the right-of-way agreement with Rayonier on property the company is donating for a new interchange on I-95 at mile marker 82. The Georgia Department of Transportation has said it plans to seek bids on the project in September.

The county will also spend $486,950 on two new fire trucks and $610,345 on resurfacing projects for Olive Branch Road, Arden Loop Circle, Belle Island Road and Kelly Davis Road.

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