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DE: Georgetown adds teeth to dog ordinance

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by Vicki, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    Georgetown adds teeth to dog ordinance
    By Sarah Lake • Staff Writer • June 28, 2010

    GEORGETOWN -- As a result of multiple complaints, officials are attempting to beef up the town's ordinance regarding stray dogs.

    The proposal, which already had its first reading at a council meeting, serves to enhance the definition of "running at large" by adding the term "physical restraint" to the ordinance's wording. The amendment is expected to be adopted at the July 14 Town Council meeting, officials said.

    The amended ordinance would state: "It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog ... to permit any dog owned or maintained by him, whether licensed or unlicensed, to run at large, without physical restraint, within the corporate limits of the Town of Georgetown."

    Mayor Brian Pettyjohn said the hope is to curb two kinds of incidents: Those involving owners walking their dogs without a visible leash and those where a pedestrian is frightened by a dog within the unmarked limits of an invisible fence.

    "A lot of times, people will be walking by a yard that has an invisible fence, but they don't know it's there," he said. "Dogs will charge at these people and stop at the barrier of the fence. This can scare the heck out of a person."

    Pettyjohn added the ordinance would require property owners with invisible fences to display signage.

    Incidents regarding unrestrained dogs are not uncommon in the area, according to Sgt. Mary Janette, field supervisor with Sussex County Delaware Animal Care and Control.

    "We receive a lot of calls about stray dogs, especially in the summer when tourists who don't know the rules bring their pets to the beach," she said.

    "But it's not only tourists; sometimes it's residents who just don't care."

    Janette said a dog owner who makes no effort to restrain his or her animal receives a citation, and multiple offenders often end up in court.

    "Once you get to court, the fines can be pretty severe," she said. "But we have to take further steps to be sure it won't happen anymore."

    Georgetown resident Gerald Hitchens said restraining pets is a safety issue.

    "A lot of people say their dogs don't bite, but then there are a lot of people who have been bitten," he said. "Allowing your dog to run loose is not very courteous, and it's not safe."

    Georgetown adds teeth to dog ordinance | delmarvanow.com | The Daily Times

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