Saturday, October 3, 2009

County may add bite to animal control ordinance

Bill Grimes

Effingham County Board members plan to pass an amended animal control ordinance at their Nov. 16 meeting, board chairwoman Carolyn Willenburg said Wednesday.

How the board will amend the ordinance is still up in the air, but State’s Attorney Ed Deters offered a number of suggestions at Wednesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting.

Deters said several suggestions outlined Wednesday would be incorporated into the revised ordinance, while others would be administrative changes that would not require board action.

Deters’ suggested amendments include...

• Implement an anti-hoarding ordinance.

Deters said the city of Effingham limits the number of dogs or cats owned to four, while giving pet owners several months to sell or give away puppies or kittens born in their home.

“I would have a higher number than four in my mind,” Deters said. “Maybe the right number is 10.”

Committee member David Campbell said several county residents raise hunting dogs and would have more than four at any one time.

Whatever the case, Deters said, the new ordinance should reflect an intolerance for owning dozens of cats or dogs. Some county residents have been accused by their neighbors of “hoarding” dozens of cats in their home, reportedly causing a stench throughout the neighborhoods.

“People typically don’t want to live next to 100 cats,” he said.

Jackson Township resident Ed Hoopingarner told the board that the hoarding issue is more of a problem in rural areas.

“Most farmers have a lot of cats to keep rodents away,” Hoopingarner said. “And I have two dogs to manage my animals.

“If we have to pen the dogs up, that’s going to be bad.”..."