Sullivan County Could Strengthen Animal Care Enforcement | Pets

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County may soon create and enforce new rules and regulations for how county residents treat their pets.

County Commissioner Mark Vance is the lead sponsor of an “ongoing” resolution to adopt “standards of animal care and standards of animal restraint”.

“It’s about holding people accountable and standing up for helpless animals that can’t defend themselves,” Vance told The Times News on Monday when asked the reason for the resolution.

Vance said the subject was brought to his attention by the sheriff’s office, workers and board members at the Sullivan County Animal Shelter.

“I want a way to help our animal control and sheriff’s office staff be able to deal with animal neglect with some enforcement power to support them when they respond to those calls and find a dog entangled in a chain tied to a tree, with no water and no shelter,” Vance said.

Currently, those who respond to such a call only have the power to tell the pet owner that they need to do better, Vance said.

State law, according to the Vance resolution, allows counties to:

• Regulate stray animals by resolution of their governing body.

• Authorize and regulate dogs and cats.

• Establish and operate sanctuaries and other animal control facilities.

• By resolution of their governing body, establish a monetary penalty not exceeding $500 for each violation of any rule or regulation that the county is authorized to adopt.

State law also gives the General Sessions Court the power to enforce county rules, according to the resolution.

As of Monday, Vance’s resolution (co-sponsored by Commissioner John Gardner) calls on the Sullivan County Commission to adopt a list of standards of care “to ensure that our precious animals are cared for” and states “the establishment of regulations for animal care standards.[…]is a step in improving the quality of life of dogs, cats and animals and in promoting safe neighborhoods and a positive quality of life for citizens and visitors.

The guidelines that are attached to the resolution are just a boilerplate starting point provided as an example of what some other counties in the state have adopted, Vance said.

“I will be meeting with County Attorney Dan Street later this week to talk about the proposed rules and regulations and how the enforcement would work,” Vance said. “And I will speak to the county animal shelter board and the employees there. And the sheriff’s office.

Vance said he doesn’t plan to include a requirement for all dogs and cats to have a county-issued license, but there will be a provision to “register” every animal retrieved by its owner. or adopted out of the animal shelter by a new owner. . He also wants a provision that all dogs and cats adopted out of the shelter must first be neutered or neutered.

Other basic regulations would specify how much space dog yards and dog houses should have, Vance said.

He introduced the resolution for first reading last month, but Vance said he does not plan to call a committee vote this month due to the amount of work that remains to be done to develop the rules and regulations. proposed.

Boyd S. Abbott