Senoia City Council discusses dogs, county concerns
It began as a discussion pertaining to Senoia’s animal control ordinance and what constitutes a dog kennel. But the discussion at Monday night’s city council meeting took a turn that ended with plans to take a closer look at the Coweta County animal control ordinance and to determine how, for good or bad, it impacts the city and what the city might want to do in response.
Continuing the topic from a previous meeting, city administrator Richard Ferry began the discussion with examples of how the cities of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek define and categorize residential kennels and how Senoia might address the number of dogs that could live in a residential setting and the inspections that could be required.
The discussion also questioned whether there should be a limit of four dogs per household that could fall under the provisions of a city ordinance.
“So a person chooses to have four pets and the city comes out and inspects and they have to pay the city to do it?” Mayor Robert Belisle asked. “Is there an issue that is driving the need to force a change? If a dog barks or is not properly maintained it’s a nuisance and we already have the legal means to take care of it.”
But the agenda item soon turned into a discussion on unruly and threatening dogs when city resident Ken Barnard spoke up, saying that he had been experiencing problems, including being held at bay on his own property, for several years. Barnard said he eventually gave up on filing complaints about the dogs barking and coming on his property, even though on one occasion he counted as many as 27 dogs in an area adjacent to his house.
“We have an agreement with the county for animal control,” Belisle said, noting that the failure to live up to the agreement would equate to the county not enforcing its own regulations. Belisle also maintained that for the city to adopt an inspection procedure and charge (or tax) residents for it would be inappropriate because residents are already paying county taxes for that service.
No matter what the answer, we have to do something about the problem of dogs running through my yard, Barnard responded.
Belisle suggested that Barnard call 911 on each occasion, adding that doing so provides a paper trail to build a criminal case for nuisance.
Responding to a statement by city administrator Richard Ferry on whether the city was satisfied with the level of service being provided by the county, Belisle also noted two routes the city could take on the issue of dogs creating a nuisance. He said the city could adopt the county’s animal control ordinance, thereby requiring the county to enforce the issue, or the city could establish its own animal control service. The cost to city taxpayers for that service was not discussed.
Ferry during the discussion added that to adopt the county’s ordinance would require that the city also include the policies that accompany the ordinance.
The discussion ended with the issue being tabled and with Ferry charged reporting back to the council after he explored the specifics of the county’s animal control ordinance.
The discussion ended with the issue being tabled and with Ferry charged with reporting back to the council after he explored the specifics of the county’s animal control ordinance.