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Hearing to be held on animal control ordinance

January 19, 2001

Hearing to be held on animal control ordinance



Public hearing
  • Proposed changes to the Washington County animal control ordinance
  • Tuesday, Jan. 23
  • 10 a.m.
  • County Commissioners meeting room


By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


For the third time in two years, the Washington County Commissioners are holding a public hearing on proposed changes to the animal control ordinance.

In response to feedback, there have been revisions to the proposed changes and some controversial parts were removed, County Attorney Richard Douglas said.

The last public hearing on the ordinance was in January 2000 but it has been discussed at public meetings since then. The proposal was made public in January 1999.

Steve Ernst, a Clear Spring farmer and spokesman for the Washington County Farm Bureau, has told the commissioners about concerns he and other bureau members have about changes to the ordinance.

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They opposed a plan to remove some ordinance exemptions for farm animals.

The version up for discussion Tuesday puts some of those exemptions back in, Douglas said.

Other controversial changes to the proposed ordinance, adding to the types of animals covered by kennel regulations and reducing the length of time animals must be kept in the shelter before being made available for adoption or to be euthanized, have been removed.

A suggestion to limit the number of cats a person can have without getting a cattery permit was removed from the proposal.

The proposal gives the Animal Control Authority more guidelines and more power to address residents' complaints.

Marie Wampler, a former Washington County Animal Control Authority member, has complained that proposed civil fine increases are too high. She plans to attend Tuesday's meeting.

The proposed civil penalty is up to $25 for the first infraction, up to $100 for the second and up to $250 for third and subsequent offenses.

The existing ordinance lists only a fine of $10 for a first offense, Douglas said.

Douglas said the original proposal called for fines of $25, $50 and $100 for the first, second and third offenses, but the County Commissioners asked that they be increased. Civil penalties can be reduced at a hearing by the Washington County District Court or the Animal Control Authority, he said.

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