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Changes OK’d to ‘bite board’

POSTED: December 7, 2013 12:45 a.m.
 

Forsyth County commissioners approved a change to the animal control board membership on Thursday.

The “bite board,” as it’s also known, reviews appeals on dogs classified as dangerous.

That’s why the people serving on the three-member panel are so important, according to residents who spoke during a public hearing on the issue.

The new membership will include a local veterinarian, a county resident and a person active in a county animal rescue organization, who is selected from a slate of nominees by the first two members.

Under the present setup, the membership includes an appointee selected from the county veterinarians, the county humane society and commissioners.

Bill Mulrooney of the Humane League of Lake Lanier liked the changes coming to the membership descriptions.

He told a story about catching a dog that had escaped his neighbor’s yard, and in fear, the dog bit him to try and wriggle away.

“The law says that’s a dangerous dog. She’s on my property and she bit me,” Mulrooney said. “That’s not a dangerous dog.”

He said people who understand that distinction should be on the board, which is the only place to appeal.

The board’s current resident member, Vicki Rennick, also spoke in favor of the changes, though she felt a qualification for experience in animal behavior would be an improvement.

Lance White, president of the Humane Society of Forsyth County, likened the panel to a dog “court of law.”

“They need to have peers,” White said. “They need to have people that understand them.”

He expressed concern with residency being the lone qualification for the second member, and also that the first two members picking the pool for the third could narrow the field too much.

Chairman Pete Amos noted that the county commission gets final approval on all members.

“I truly think the board will look at the individual that’s going to be nominated,” Amos said. “I hope the future boards just won’t pick out a person from the community. I think they should go through the due diligence of finding a person who cares about dogs.”

The current membership will remain in place until new terms start in December 2014.

 

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