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Walton committee address animal control

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by fearlessknight, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. fearlessknight

    fearlessknight Good Dog

    SANTA ROSA BEACH - For some families, especially those that own lots of land, leaving dogs tethered outside during the day is more cost-effective than building chain-link fences.

    Three-quarters of all dog owners in Walton County tether their dogs for at least part of the day, Walton County Animal Control Officer Lois Marwalt said. And if their leashes are too short, they often have no way to protect themselves in case of an attack.

    Marwalt was among about a dozen people who attended the latest county Animal Control Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday afternoon at the South Walton Courthouse Annex. The main topics were cruelty and tethering issues.

    "The ones that show aggression are the ones that are on short tethers and aren't socialized," Marwalt said.
    After a round of mostly civil discussions, committee members agreed that a tether should be at least five times longer than the dog, from the tip of its nose to base of its tail, but no shorter than 10 feet. Additionally, the committee is recommending that a tether "should not be used as the primary way to confine the dog."

    "When (the dog) is tethered 24/7, that's when these kinds of issues come out," committee member Bill Bard said.
    The committee is a volunteer group formed at the request of the County Commission to help update animal-control laws.

    The topics addressed Wednesday were among six issues county commissioners asked the committee to research. Topics previously addressed include a feral cat program, a spay/neuter program and standards of care/sheltering.

    The next two meetings will focus on puppy mills and dangerous animals. But Bard said just because an issue such as a spay/neuter program has been addressed doesn't mean it's closed for more discussion.

    "We'll discuss all of the issues first, then go back and re-address each issue to see if other stuff comes up," said Bard, who added that the committee hopes to deliver its recommendations to commissioners in the fall.
    Those recommendations will be the basis for a new animal-control law that will replace the law that took effect Aug. 1.

    But before any changes are made, residents will have a chance to voice their opinions, committee member Victoria Barnard said.

    "Every citizen has the opportunity to show up and support or not support the recommendations," she said.
    Barnard said the committee "has received some inaccurate press," and that none of the members are extremists as some seem to believe.

    The group includes local breeders, land owners and politicians. Marwalt and Ed Baltzley, Walton County's emergency response director, represent Walton County Animal Control as technical advisers.

    Barnard emphasized that a mandatory spay/neuter program has never been and never will be on the group's agenda.

    The county recently signed a contract for an animal shelter to be built near DeFuniak Springs, and the committee will not make any recommendations until the members know whether the shelter will provide those services.

  2. rambuttal

    rambuttal Puppy

    These people don't sound too insane.
    They are allowing their community to vote, and I think everyone agrees that keeping a dog contained helps insure the safety of that animal.
    I sure don't want to be the subject of the hysterics of an angry mob because some little kid came too close to my dog in my yard and got bit.
    Walls and fences are better than chains and ropes.

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