Change, even necessary change, is sometimes met with roadblocks or obstacles. When this happens, only perseverance and “dogged” determination can bring about a positive outcome. These two characteristics define the efforts of the animal welfare advocates in our county who, though not initially welcomed, successfully gained ground to ensure inclusion of some positive changes in animal welfare in the newly proposed county animal ordinance.
There are several major positive changes. Starting in August when the new ordinance becomes effective, animal rescues, including foster-based rescues who register and follow protocol set by the ordinance, will be allowed to pull animals from animal control. Another major change is that the public will be allowed to adopt directly from animal control. Spaying and neutering of a new pet will be required.
A rescue or individual will be allowed to pull or foster an animal that is injured or needs veterinary care. The rescue or individual must assume the financial responsibility for the animal’s vet care. Rescues already meet the medical needs of any animal they intake. What is important here is that an animal in animal control that needs medical attention can now receive treatment or even life-saving medical care instead of euthanasia.
These are all significant victories for the animals that will save more dogs and cats that are sitting on death row at animal control.
Animal welfare advocates opposed the inclusion of Class 1 and Class 2 kennels, which are not in the current animal ordinance. While these two sections were removed from the proposed animal ordinance, and rightfully so, with a few revisions the requirements were simply moved to the county zoning ordinance.
Let’s take a look at what this still means for private property owners in the county. As a private property owner, if you own 10 or more domesticated animals, meaning dogs, cats and other generally accepted household pets over 4 months of age, you will be required to register your private property and/or home as a “kennel.” The property will be subject to site plan requirements and to inspections by animal control, zoning code enforcement, and environmental health.
Animal control and the Sheriff’s department already have the ability to inspect any property if a legitimate nuisance complaint is filed by someone. The kennel provisions of this proposed ordinance are based completely on an arbitrary number instead of on quality care of your animals. Private and personal property rights are being ignored. There is also a possibility that some people will be targeted.
The proposed animal and zoning ordinances have taken out the term “commercial” in the definition of a kennel. Commercial pertains to people engaged in a for-profit business involving animals. Commercial kennels must be licensed and must meet requirements of the NC Animal Welfare Act and any other state and county laws. It is, however, ludicrous to compare private property and personal pets to a commercial kennel.
What can you do as a person who owns private property and owns 10 or more animals who are well cared for and feel this is a violation of your rights? I suggest you call your county commissioners immediately and let them know how you feel about it prior to their vote. The animal ordinance and zoning ordinance have not been approved yet. The county commissioners plan to vote at the public meeting scheduled on Tuesday, April 18, which you may and should attend.
To conclude on a positive note, we can all agree and appreciate the efforts by the county commissioners, animal control, county manager’s office, and the animal welfare advocates to bring much-needed change and compassion for the plight of animals that end up at animal control and face impending death. Positive changes do not happen instantly, but the groundwork is laid. If we continue to work collaboratively, show respect for each other, and stand up for the protection and welfare of the animals in Burke County, we will be better human beings and leave the next generation a more compassionate ideology to follow and uphold.
Read the original article here.