by Lisa Milot
At the Athens-Clarke County Commission meeting this February, some residents raised concerns about unaltered dogs in our community. Under state law, dogs that have been classified as “dangerous” or “vicious” based on attacks on people or pets are not required to be altered (spayed or neutered). Moreover, 79 percent of stray dogs impounded at the shelter are unaltered at the time of impound.
Research shows that unaltered dogs have greater problems with aggression than altered dogs, and they are more apt to stray and become a nuisance in the community, interfering with traffic and entering on private property. Additionally, dogs that wander loose intact add to pet overpopulation in our area, as they are likely to produce one or more litters of puppies outside of a licensed breeding program.
After discussing the concerns, the commissioners decided to have their Legislative Review Committee review the existing county statutes. In the committee’s meetings since that date, they have developed policies and proposed changes to the ordinance to improve safety in the community and unanimously voted to send the proposed ordinance changes to the full commission. These proposals should be on the agenda for the June 6 meeting and will be open for public comment at that time.
Athenspets (www.athenspets.net), the volunteer group for Athens-Clarke County Animal Control, has assisted in this process by providing requested information on the available free and low-cost spay/neuter options in the area. University of Georgia Law Professor Lisa Milot assisted in drafting proposed language and providing an analysis of the current statutes at issue.
You can show your support by attending the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission meeting on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 6:00pm in the Commission Chamber on the second floor of City Hall at 301 College Avenue, Athens, GA 30601. More information about these meetings can be found online at www.athensclarkecounty.com/176/Mayor-Commission-Meetings.