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The mayor and city council of Maysville, GA, will hold meetings to hear public comments on a proposed animal ordinance that would apply to the sections of the City of Maysville that lie within Banks County.

The first meeting is scheduled for February 8, 2021, at 6:30 p.m., prior to the city council meeting.  Additional meetings are scheduled for the morning of February 11.  Please contact the city clerk’s office at 706-652-2274 for information about dates/times for future meetings.

What you can do:  Maysville residents are urged to contact their city council members to express concerns about certain provisions in the proposed ordinance and ask that it be positively amended for clarity and conformance with state law.  If possible, attend the scheduled meeting to provide public comment and to discuss friendly amendments.

Problematic provisions include:

98.2 Sec 1-1- Definitions

Several proposed definitions are problematic.

Subsection (2) in the definition of “abandonment of an animal” could be interpreted so that a person who “puts out” or “leaves” an animal in their house, fence, other structure, or on a tether commits abandonment.  While this very likely is not the intent of the ordinance, the subsection should be clarified to specifically address intentional acts of discarding an animal.

Certain terms in the proposed ordinance are not defined. Therefore, it would be difficult for a resident to determine compliance or for an enforcement official to determine a violation.  The American Kennel Club has recommended the vague definitions of “abused animal” be deleted,  and instead reference and incorporate the state’s animal cruelty law.

The “attacking or biting animal” definition is overly broad and does not exempt a provoked attack. It would include an attack by an animal that causes property damage. Under this definition, a fractious horse that kicks loose a fence rail, a pet that nips a groomer who cuts a nail too short, or a cat that damages a window screen while pursuing a bird, could all be considered an “attacking or biting animal.” Property damage and associated risk caused by an attacking dog is already addressed under the definition of “vicious dog.”

There are insufficient differences among the definitions of “attacking or biting animal,” “dangerous dog,” “potentially dangerous dog,” and “vicious animal.”  The definitions overlap, and there is no clear escalation from “potentially dangerous dog” to “dangerous dog” to “vicious animal.”

“Nuisance animal” would include an animal that eliminates or defecates while off the owner’s property, even if the owner picks up after the animal.

Under 98.2 Sec. 1-7 – Control of animal

The proposed ordinance requires animals to be restrained indoors, in a primary enclosure, or on a leash. It is unclear if a dog under voice control as provided under (a) General control, subsection (1) would be considered restrained.  It is also unclear if a dog that is outside an enclosure, but does not leave its owner’s property, would be considered restrained on non-agricultural property.

It would be required that when off the owner’s premises, all animals must be on a leash not exceeding 12 feet in length.  This would prohibit use of longer leashes for tracking/trailing/search-and-rescue dogs  and other canine activities, or the use of voice control.

What Maysville residents can do:

Attend the scheduled meetings to voice your concerns and recommend amendments. If you cannot attend the meetings, contact the mayor and city council members to discuss concerns with certain sections of the ordinance and to request that these sections be amended.  Comments about the ordinance can be emailed to the city clerk at cityofmaysville@windstream.net.

Meeting Information:
February 8, 2021 at 6:30 pm
Maysville City Hall, 4 Homer Street, Maysville, GA 30558
Please contact the city clerk for information about additional public comment meetings.

View city council members here.
View ward map here.
View Mayor Richard Presley here.

For additional information, please contact AKC Government Relations at doglaw@akc.org or 919-816-3720.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us at enewsletter@akc.org
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