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Animal control hearing set

January 18, 2000





What: Animal control ordinance public hearing.

When: Today, 10 a.m.

Where: County Administration Building, 100 W. Washington St.


By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

The public today gets another chance to sound off on controversial proposed revisions to the county's animal control ordinance, including removal of exemptions for farm animals.

It will be the final public hearing before the Washington County Commissioners vote on changes, Commissioners President Greg Snook said Monday.

Within a month the commissioners will vote on the changes, which were requested by the Humane Society of Washington County, Snook said. The group was formerly the Washington County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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The county decided to hold another public hearing because the last one was in January 1999. Work on the changes has taken a long time because the county was working on other projects, Snook said.

In November the County Commissioners nixed a controversial proposed change that sparked fears that stray animals would be killed before owners retrieved them.

The Humane Society proposed cutting from five days to three the length of time stray animals must be kept at its shelter before being made available for adoption. If there was no room at the shelter, the animals could have been destroyed after three days under the proposal.

That provision was removed from the proposal.

Commissioner Paul L. Swartz said Monday he expects members of the county's agricultural community to attend today's public hearing to speak against a provision that removes a full exemption from the ordinance for all farm animals.

The Humane Society wants that change made so it can respond to calls for farm animals running loose, which it currently can't do, Executive Director Shelly Moore said.

It also would make it easier for the Humane Society to handle vicious and dangerous animals, she said.

The proposal also re-establishes the Animal Control Authority, giving it more guidelines and more power to address residents' complaints. The authority could issue civil fines and order animals killed.

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