Published 7:16 am Monday, July 31, 2006
City puts teeth in pet ordinance
Brewton officials have a special message for pet owners: Take care of your animals - and keep them on a leash.
The city, which had been giving warnings when pet owners violate the city's animal control ordinance, is now skipping right to fines for violations.
That means that pet owners suspected of abusing or neglecting their animals or who are letting them run “at large” can now be fined for violations of the city's animal control ordinance.
It makes sense for the city to take a tougher role - or to put teeth into the ordinance, so to speak.
City Councilwoman Ann Marie Sasser pointed out last week that complaints about dogs running at large - that is, those without leashes or not kept in an enclosure.
Sasser is right. Warnings are much easier for pet owners to ignore than a fine - and that could leave people - and animals - at risk.
The city's ordinance - which also allows officials to appoint an animal control officer - provides for a fine of up to $200 for violating the animal control laws.
Animals that roam free could charge or attack residents, leaving the pet owner much bigger problems than a fine from the city.
And animals that are abused and neglected need greater protection than a warning. The fines imposed by violations of the animal cruelty laws protect those animals - and protect neighbors as well.
We're glad to see the city and humane society working to take a bigger bite out of animal control violations.t.