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Letter to the editor
Tethering ordinance isn't right tactic
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Forsyth County News
I realize the anti-tethering issue is contentious and can be full of emotion.  I’m an animal lover and owner and have great disdain for anyone that mistreats animals.  As commissioners, we face a difficult task as we look at the proposed amendments regarding tethering. 

I am one of the two commissioners that requested these public hearings as I support public interaction and involvement. However, as I read the final version of this amendment, I am not in favor of this increased government control of day-to-day decisions. 

An animal trainer wrote me an e-mail and made a comment that really hit home: “Not all dogs that are tethered on a regular basis are being abused or neglected. It is the abuse and the neglect that should be targeted, not the tether.” 

I do have much concern about dogs being mistreated by being tethered for unreasonable amounts of time. There are many animals that are mistreated, abused and neglected and it’s not just dogs and not just by tethering. I believe it wise to address this issue by considering revised or strengthened animal abuse, neglect and mistreatment ordinances versus specific amendments that are reportable by your neighbors’ complaint, hard to enforce and appear to be subjective in nature.

The issue needs to be addressed by taking into account that we live in a very unique county and have a mix of rural and suburban citizens.  Some people have dogs as members of the family and some have working dogs, such as hunting, and neither has less concern for their animal. Forsyth County is not ready for narrow ordinances; we have too many different types of people.

I so much appreciate the fine people that brought this to the surface and I know their hearts are in the right place.

Consideration should be given to ordinances that address animal abuse, neglect and mistreatment as a whole and not just piecemeal amendments. 

If we can ever get to the point where we can address the real root of the problem, and include concerns from all sides, we could create an ordinance that truly reflects our citizens and our county.  

This may not be a popular stance with some groups but it is an open-minded viewpoint that takes into account our county — not Fulton, Gwinnett or Hall and how they have or have not addressed issues.  I want to set example, not follow it.

Patrick Bell

Commissioner, District 4

Forsyth County Commission