Indian Trail adopts scaled back leash law

Feb. 13, 2013 @ 06:54 PM

The Indian Trail Town Council approved a leash law at its Tuesday meeting.

Last month, the council scrapped a draft animal control ordinance written by the town's public safety committee. Council members stated they believed the ordinance, which restricted ownership of certain animals and their number, imposed too much government control on residents' animals.

A second ordinance was drafted by Town Attorney Keith Merritt that built upon Union County's animal control ordinance requiring pets be vaccinated, feces disposed of correctly, aggressive dogs contained, animal impoundments and other general responsibilities of the animal's owner.

The town's ordinance makes it unlawful to let dogs run at large without restraint within the town limits. It requires all dogs allowed outside the owner's home be fitted with identification, in the form of rabies tags, registration tags or tags bearing the name and address of the dog's owner.

Owners are also required to prevent animal nuisance. Cats and dogs are prohibited from damaging other people's property or defecating on property belonging to anyone other than their owners. Unsanitary living conditions, aggressive roaming dogs, barking or howling animals, keeping a dense concentration of animals in insufficient space, not treating diseased animals and allowing female animals in heat to roam are all considered public nuisance. 

Punishment for violating the ordinance is $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second offense and $100 for additional offense.

Gone is the previous draft's creation of an animal license requirement. Instead, owners would be responsible for keeping current identification tags on pets, Town Manager Joe Fivas said.

Ordinance enforcement falls to the Union County Sheriff's Office to perform, Fivas said.

"They don't necessarily have an obligation to enforce it the way that it is written," Fivas said. "We have had some conversations with the sheriff...and I think they're certainly willing to work with us on it.

Fivas said the town provided an ordinance draft to the sheriff's office. The town has not received feedback from the UCSO, but Fivas said deputies should be willing to include animal enforcement into their normal duties.