Already on the books
Liberty County animal ordinances
Below is a snapshot of some current Liberty County ordinances regarding pet ownership. These ordinances and others may be viewed at no cost on the Municode Library Web site, www.municode.com/Library/clientCodePage.aspx?clientID=5412.
Registration, cats and dogs
All residents owning, leeping or harboring any cat or dog over three months of age shall pay to the county board of health, or their designation representative, a yearly registration fee. Registration fees are due upon receiving rabies vaccinations.
Vaccination of animals
It shall be unlawful for any person to own, keep or harbor any animal that has not been vaccinated against rabies as required by the rules and regulations established in accordance with O.C.G.A. section 31-19-5.
Confinement or leashing required
Except for hunting dogs that are in designated hunting areas and with licensed hunters for the specific prey sought, any person owning or having custody of a dog within the county shall confine such dog on the premises of the owner of the dog, or on the premises of some responsible person authorized by the owner. Dogs shall not be permitted to run at large on any streets, alleys or any other place in the county other than the premises of the guardian or owner of the dog, except on a leash not more than six feet in length or in the care of a competent person.
to whom the dog will respond through voice command.
Tethering of an animal is prohibited. “Tethered” means an animal attached to a stationary object by a chain, cable or similar device used for the size and type of animal involved. An animal is not considered tethered when the the animal is attached to a stationary object as long as the owner or custodian is physically within reach of the animal. Any tethering device used to tether an animal must be at least ten (10) feet in length.
Below is a snapshot of some current Hinesville city ordinances regarding pet ownership.
Registration of dogs
All residents owning, keeping or harboring any dog over three months of age shall pay to the city a yearly registration fee.
Registration fee for kennels
Persons operating a kennel where dogs are bred for sale shall not be required to pay the registration fee required but, in lieu thereof, shall pay a registration fee as a kennel operator.
Requirements for possession of dangerous/potentially dangerous dogs
No person shall own, possess, keep, harbor or have custody or control of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog except in compliance with the requirements of this section.
A dangerous dog is defined as any dog that has, without provocation, inflicted severe injury on a human being or, if such fog has been previously classified as a potentially dangerous dog, has aggressively bitten, attached or endangered the safety of a human being without provocation.
A potentially dangerous dog means any dog wit ha known propensity, tendency or disposition to make unprovoked attachs, cause injuries or otherwise threaten the safety of human beings.
1) A dangerous or potentially or potentially dangerous dog shall not be permitted to remain in the county unless it is properly registered.
2) Except under circumstances otherwise specifically permitted, a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog shall at all times be maintained inside a proper enclosure.
3) The premises where a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog are kept shall be posted with a clearly visible sign warning there is a dog on the premises which presents a danger to human beings.
4) The owner of a dangerous dog shall maintain at all times either a policy of insurance or a surety bond in a minimum amount of $15,000 to cover claims for any personal injuries inflicted by the dog, which policy or surety bond shall be issued by an insurer or surety authoirzed to transact business in this state.
These ordinances and others may be viewed at no cost on the Municode Library website, www.municode.com/Library/library.aspx
“I hope we can get it passed, 100 percent,” Frye said. “I think we need some legal way to identify animals, and [microchipping] has proven to be the best method to date of identifying animals.”
Microchips allow owner information to be easily retrieved, so pets don’t have to stay in the shelter or the animal control facility longer than necessary. Animals who are collected as strays must stay in the county facility for a minimum of five days, and 10 days or more if they have a chip in order to make sure the owners can be tracked down. From there, if a pet hasn’t been claimed, the humane shelter will evaluate the pet to see if it can be adopted out.
Frye acknowledged the potential backlash and said she knows many pet owners don’t want to be told how to act as pet owners or be told they have to pay fees to comply with county or city rules regarding pets.
“Most pet owners are responsible, but unfortunately we’d have to target the ones who aren’t responsible,” she said. “I can’t think anyone’s going to like the fact that we’d be mandated to do something, but we already have mandates. A lot of people don’t realize there’s an ordinance and a cost for registering your pet.”
In Liberty County, registration for unaltered animals costs $40 and for altered animals costs $20.
Frye stressed the importance of spaying and neutering pets to help limit the growing number of animals that end up in the shelter and in Liberty County Animal Control’s facility. She asked the commission to look at chipping and alteration as separate issues, a slight change from her 2009 request to make alterations mandatory for most pet owners.
Rather than asking for an ordinance that mandates spaying and neutering, Frye suggested providing more incentives for pet owners to alter cats and dogs. The expense of alterations can be a deterrent for some owners, but Frye said discounted services and vouchers for discounted services can be accessed throughout the county.
While the commissioners mull over the issue, Frye and others continue to speak to the public through schools and churches about spaying, neutering and microchipping pets. Additionally, “we’re trying to set up some public meetings to discuss the issue” of the ordinance, she said. “I don’t want anyone to feel like responsible pet owners are being punished, but I don’t know any other way to solve this.”