After months of buildup, changes to Forsyth County's animal control ordinance passed with a whimper.
The county commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to alter the wording that defines adequate shelter for a dog, and added new general rules for placing a dog on a tether, rope or chain.
Charles Laughinghouse, one of two commissioners to oppose the changes, said friends and foes of the ordinance "will walk out of here tonight equally unhappy with this."
Kristin Day, who attended the meeting, shrugged following the vote.
"It's a step in the right direction," she said. "Do I feel that dogs will be better protected? Yes, I do."
Daniel Roper said the ordinance, which takes effect immediately, should have been left alone.
"I feel like this was a big waste of time," he said. "It's a lot of talk about something that was fine in the first place."
Commissioner Brian Tam also opposed the measure, which states that residents may tether a dog, but only as a temporary means of restraint.
Changes from previous drafts of the ordinance, which the commission had spent months poring over, included a time frame of less than three hours per day a dog could be on a tether.
Commissioner Jim Harrell read a new version, which included no specific time periods.
The motion passed with a new definition of adequate shelter for dogs, another aspect of the ordinance the commission had studied.
The measure used the term "dog" rather than "animal" for clarity, a distinction Harrell said could help animal control with enforcement.
He also said other parts of the ordinance may need revision in the future, which would require more public hearings.