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Swain Democrats support animal control ordinance

To the Editor:

Swain County Democrats recently passed a resolution in support of the county’s proposed animal control ordinance and ask others to do the same. The proposed ordinance will protect the “health, safety and welfare” of county residents and protect companion animals from “abuse, neglect and abandonment.”   

Specifically excluded are farm animals such as cows, sheep, horses, goats, rabbits, etc. Also excluded are licensed hunting dogs, working dogs used to herd or guard livestock, and service and therapy dogs. 

The ordinance requires all dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated for rabies. It outlines what is required if a person is bitten by an animal that may carry rabies. The ordinance gives details for protecting people from dangerous animals and calls for investigation of complaints about nuisance animals.  

Animal cruelty, such as torture, beating and poisoning is prohibited under the proposed ordinance, which also prohibits depriving animals of food and water, abandoning them, or confining them in vehicles where high heat could cause suffering and death.  

People who violate the ordinance may be subject to civil penalties, including fines.

The proposed ordinance calls for creation of a new Animal Services Center and employment of unarmed officers empowered to enforce the ordinance with citations, investigations, quarantines, seizure and disposition of animals. We think that is a good use of taxpayers’ money. People will be allowed to give away their animals to the center and to adopt spayed/neutered animals from the center for a fee.

Animal control is not a partisan issue that favors or targets any political party. Instead it deserves the support of all people who want animals protected from disease, starvation, over-population and abuse. We believe that controlling and protecting animals also will protect all of us, our children and families.  

Commissioners are expected to consider the proposed ordinance at a public meeting on September 26 at 6 p.m. in the old federal courthouse in Bryson City. A copy of the proposed ordinance is available at http://www.swaincountync.gov/page_files/commissioners/agendas/agendas_2016/animal_control_draft_8_2016.pdf .

Brenda Donargo, Whittier

Leila Tvedt, Bryson City

On behalf of Swain County 

Democratic Party 

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