Public Provides Comments on Proposed St. Mary’s Animal Control Ordinance

St. Mary’s County Commissioners took comments from residents and stakeholders about proposed changes to the county’s animal control ordinance.

As reported on The Bay Net:

The proposed Animal Control Ordinance supplants one adopted in 2008 which County Attorney George Sparling said the county lacks authority to enact and thus has no force of law. He set about crafting a “basic” ordinance that he said he thought struck a balance between protecting the animals and the property owners. The legislature last year gave the county authority to enact an ordinance. But, judging from the testimony at the hearing, the document needs more work.

Humane Society of the United States Maryland State Director Emily Hovermale followed up an earlier email to the commissioners with testimony at the hearing. She said the ordinance’s lack of a license for dogs and cats would put St, Mary’s as the lone county in the state without one. She said the license is a good way for the county to insure that rabies vaccines are4 administered.

She said while Sparling had included references to a number of state laws that cover animal control, he missed the important felony animal cruelty provision. And picking up on the concerns of the other speakers, Hovermale said the proposal would make St. Mary’s the only county in which animal control officers couldn’t impound dangerous dogs.

The proposal for animal control regulations comes close on the heels of discussions in all three Southern Maryland counties about the abandonment of the regional shelter in Hughesville in favor of each county having its own shelter. Drema Ballengee-Grunst of Leonardtown heads a group called Give Me Shelter St. Mary’s County, that is hoping to assist the county in establishing its own.

The comment period will remain open for a week before the commissioners make any decisions.

For more information read the full article on The Bay Net.