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Officer: Dog ordinance lacks teeth

By Staff
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's dog days may soon be coming to an end.
Hartselle's City Council is looking at ways to handle complaints about odors and noise from dogs in the city. Among the considerations is a request from Animal Control Officer Regina Jenkins to limit the number of dogs each household or residential lot could have.
It's all a matter of being a responsible pet owner, Jenkins said.
"Our current ordinance is so vague it doesn't give you a lot of enforcement authority," Jenkins said. "I want people to take care of their pets, take them to the vet, walk them, clean up after them, and spend time with them. If you're going to have an animal, you should take care of that animal."
Jenkins' initial proposal includes limiting the number of dogs a person could own to four. Under this plan, each house would be limited to four adult dogs, defined as any dog age six months or older. A litter of pups up to six months would be considered as one dog.
Cats and other pets are excluded from the proposed limit.
Mayor Dwight Tankersley said he has questions on the one house/four dog limit. His concerns center mainly on how the ordinance would be enforced.
"What bothers me about it is we've talked about how it would only apply if there was a complaint," Tankersley said. "I do not want to see us pass an ordinance that from the start we know we can't enforce unless someone complains."
Tankersley said he and City Attorney Larry Madison are planning a meeting with Jenkins to discuss how to handle dog problems.
"What I would like to see is us discuss all the problems she (Jenkins) thinks we have and look for ways to solve those without limiting the number of dogs," a person has, Tankersley said.
Tankersley said the dog ordinance is still in the discussion stage and any changes to existing ordinances will be brought before the council for its consideration.