The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday May 28th

Town Talk

County delays vote on unified animal ordinance

At its meeting Tuesday evening, the Orange County Board of Commissioners discussed proposed revisions to the Unified Animal Control Ordinance — but vague wording discouraged a vote.

The proposed ordinance will unify the three existing ordinances for Orange County, Chapel Hill and Carrboro — giving those residents more clarity and quicker service.

On June 4, the commissioners requested for the ordinance to be revised with unification, necessary updates and critical gaps in mind.

Annette Moore, the staff attorney for Orange County Animal Services, summarized the recommendations and concerns for the document.

The recommendations included updating the ordinance to reflect the creation of the Animal Services department, creating an appeal process for administrative orders and civil citations and establishing authority for regulating potentially dangerous dogs.

Additionally, Moore said she thinks it’s important to designate only animal control staff as cruelty investigators to recognize the availability of animal control officers.

“You need to be able to balance sheltering of animals with protection of those animals,” she said.

Moore also summarized public concerns with the ordinance.

These concerns, she said, included the distinction between rural and urban areas; defining terms such as vicious, trespassing and watchdog; and distinguishing between urban and rural areas, especially regarding livestock as nuisance animals.

Dr. Susan Elmore, the chair of the Animal Services Advisory Board, spoke about how her team has been involved with the public process part of the ordinance.

Elmore has spoken with UNC School of Government associate professor Aimee Wall, agricultural preservation board officers and a local farmer about the possible effects of the ordinance.

Following public comments, the commissioners looked in detail at specific aspects of the ordinance’s wording.

They asked Moore for clarification on several terms, including “watchdog,” “trespassing” and “keeper” — but these matters were left unclear.

“The wording is hard to define any way we go about it,” said Commissioner Earl McKee.

The commissioners asked the advisory board to go back and address these problems with the ordinance and decided not to vote on its passage.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


The Daily Tar Heel Women's Tennis Victory Paper

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive