VALDOSTA — A standing-room-only crowd let the Lowndes County Commission know Tuesday night it favors an anti-dog-chain ordinance.
The ordinance was proposed by local veterinarian Dr. Amanda Hall at Monday’s work session, and several citizens told the commission why this ordinance would benefit everyone in the end.
“I have occasion to ride through subdivisions on a daily basis and have for years,” said Allan Canup, who has worked in the real-estate business for 35 years.
“You know, there’s two kinds of people who tie dogs. I’m working on a house right now getting it ready to rent, and the lady next door will tie her pit bull to a cast-iron pipe that holds up the carport. But when she does it, she’s out there with the dog. She sets up a lawn chair, and she simply does it because she doesn’t have a fenced yard, and I don’t see a problem with that.”
Canup said that on other occasions, he’ll see dogs chained to trees in the middle of summer with no access to water, food, or shelter.
“I think it’s terrible to see these dogs treated like that,” Canup said.
Jeff Creamer, a veterinarian for 22 years, said one of the biggest problems he sees as a veterinarian is poorly socialized pets, many of whom have been tethered.
“You may not think that has a lot to do with tethering and so forth, but a lot of those patients who are poorly socialized are more likely to bite and more likely to get poor care,” Creamer said.
Creamer said owners of these pets will only come in for pet care as a last resort. These pets will often have parasites, which pose a human risk as well as a pet risk, and sometimes will have collars embedded in the pet’s neck.
Tom Hochschild, chairman of the Lowndes County Democratic Party and “the caretaker of two feisty dogs,” as he put it, thanked Hall for coming to the commission.
“Pet ownership entails a responsibility to protect the animal from harm, and to protect human beings from the animal,” Hochschild said. “If a person can not handle these responsibilities, they should not be a pet owner.”
Carol Kellerman had little to say, but spoke with emotion. “I’ve never seen a dog on a chain that wouldn’t run away if they got the chance,” Kellerman said.
Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter said the ordinance would not “die on the vine,” and the county will take a serious look at a possible ordinance.
“Folks, we understand the passion that you have for your pets, and for pets in general, and the care that they are given, and the love you give them,” Slaughter said. “We understand. We also have tough decisions to make, and we’ll have to look at all of these issues and how it’s going to affect everyone, as well as how it will affect the pets in general.”