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Board takes up dog chaining changes
Issue on hold since fall 2007
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Forsyth County News
Forsyth County commissioners plan to revisit a dog control ordinance regarding tethering, or chaining of dogs, at a future public hearing.

The board voted 4-1 at a work session last week to seek input from agencies like the Humane Society and animal control, as well as the general public before deciding whether to amend the animal control ordinance.

Commissioner Brian Tam opposed the measure.

Proposed are five new elements to the current code, which include specifications on dog tethering and adequate amounts of food, water, shelter and space for animals.

The proposal did not sit well with Tam.

“Have we had a rash of mistreated animals?” Tam asked the board and staff on Tuesday. “I’m just curious, because we’ve addressed this issue once before.”

Commissioner Jim Harrell countered that the matter had not been resolved.

“We didn’t make a decision to go forward at the time,” Harrell said.

The board postponed the issue in October 2007. It was removed from the agenda until recently, when Chairman Charles Laughinghouse suggested the commission “bring it forward with the intent of having the board make a decision to move forward with this in the future.”

Resident Paul Romanick said he and other advocates of the change are “excited we have this opportunity to have the ear of the commission again.”
Romanick owns four dogs, four cats, a donkey and a horse.

“We would just like to see a rational analysis of existing ordinances,” he said at Tuesday’s meeting.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the proposed changes to the code refer to an “animal on a static line that is not being held by a human.” That could include a dog chained to a tree or post.

The code would not involve a dog being held by a human on a leash, Jarrard said.

Tam said he was not ready to move forward on the matter, which could come before the board later this month in the form of a public hearing.

“This was tabled once before, and for a good reason,” Tam said. “I just don’t feel like this is the role we should be taking right now.”

E-mail Frank Reddy at