Sullivan County May Give Animal Care Enforcement some bite | Life

BLOUNTVILLE – Sullivan County may soon create and enforce new rules and regulations on how county residents treat their animals.

County Commissioner Mark Vance is the main sponsor of a “work in progress” resolution to adopt “animal care standards and animal restraint standards.”

“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 about the reason for the resolution.

Vance said he brought the matter to his attention through 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 to be able to tackle animal neglect with some enforcement power to support them when they answer those calls and find a dog tangled in it.” a chain tied to a tree, without water. and no shelter, ”Vance said.

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

State law, according to Vance’s resolution, authorizes counties to:

• Regulate stray animals by resolution of their governing body.

• Permits and regulates dogs and cats.

• Establish and operate shelters and other animal control facilities.

• By resolution of their governing body, establish a fine not to exceed $ 500 for each violation of a rule or by-law the county is authorized to pass.

State law also gives general session courts the power to enforce county rules, according to the resolution.

On 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 our precious animals are cared for” and says “to establish regulations for standards animal care. . is a step in improving the quality of life for dogs, cats and animals and in promoting safe neighborhoods and a positive quality of life for citizens and visitors.

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

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

Vance said he did not intend to include a requirement for all dogs and cats to have a permit issued by the county, but there will be a provision to “register” each animal collected 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 spayed or neutered.

Other basic regulations would spell out how much space dog parks and kennels should have, Vance said.

He brought the resolution to first reading last month, but Vance said he did not plan to call for a committee vote this month because of the work still to be done in crafting the proposed rules and regulations.

Boyd S. Abbott