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Animal control ordinance gets final OK

PORTERDALE - An amended animal control ordinance that requires residents to register their pets at City Hall will take effect March 1 following a unanimous vote by the City Council on Monday night.

The council made one last-minute change to the ordinance prior to approval, limiting the number of pets that can be housed at a multifamily dwelling to two. The change was discussed at the council's last work session and added to the ordinance Monday following the third and final reading of the code and a public hearing.

In discussion of the two-pet limit, Councilman Robert Foxworth asked former Mayor Wayne Maddox, who was in attendance at the meeting, how he felt about the change.

Maddox, who owns a number of rental properties in the mill village, said he had no problem with it.

"In my leases we don't allow cats and dogs," he said.

The newly amended ordinance, which essentially replaces the town's previous ordinance, limits the number of animals that can be lawfully kept by an owner in a single-family dwelling to three, although owners who have more than three at the time the ordinance takes effect will be grandfathered. Animal owners are required to ensure that their animals are "humanely secured by a leash or lead and under the control of a responsible and competent person" when off the owner's property.

The ordinance also requires pet owners to register each pet at City Hall within 60 days of the effective date of the ordinance. At that time, pet owners must fill out a registration form, provide a certificate from a veterinarian showing current rabies vaccination, and pay $5 per animal registered. Owners must renew the registration for each animal on an annual basis.

To aid in the vaccination process, City Councilwoman Linda Finger said she has made arrangements to have a mobile veterinary clinic in Porterdale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 11 and 25. Rabies vaccinations at the mobile clinic will be $10 each, Finger said.

During the public hearing portion of the meeting, Sherry Smith, a Walnut Street resident, spoke on behalf of her elderly mother who owns two cats that are more than 12 years old.

Smith said her mother is concerned about being able to keep her cats on a leash when outdoors.

Finger told Smith that as long as the cats are vaccinated, registered and stay on the owner's property, there shouldn't be any problems.

"It's not folks like (your mother) that we are really, really trying to address, but we have to address everybody," Finger told Smith.