Indian Trail sets hearing on strict new animal rules

Jan. 05, 2013 @ 05:36 PM

Tuesday, the Indian Trail Town Council holds a public hearing on a new leash law.

The proposed ordinance was drafted by the town's public safety committee and reviewed by the town attorney. If adopted, the ordinance would require dog owners to restrain their dogs outside their own property. It requires pet owners to register their animals with the town beginning in 2014. Registration fees for unspayed or unneutered pets will be higher. Service animals or those belonging to residents 65 or older will not be required to pay the registration fee. Owners will be expected to scoop their pet's poop if they defecate outside the owner's property.

Aggressive dogs will be referred to Union County Animal Control. Cats that regularly kill wild or domestic animals, defecates on other people's property or goes into heat and is unrestrained will be considered a violation. Harboring stray animals will be prohibited.

It also sets criteria for property shelter, food, water and care. Animal cruelty is defined as intentional cruel treatment and violations would be reported to Union County Animal Control. The ordinance prohibits animal fighting, animal fighting paraphernalia, trapping, stealing animals or transporting animals in a vehicle without proper ventilation.

Wild and exotic animals will be banned. Snakes and reptiles will be prohibited. Only six dogs or cats are permitted per acre. Owners of multiple animals might get a permit from the town to own more than six. Those who now own more than six per acre will be allowed to keep their animals, but as the animals die or are given away, they cannot be replaced with other animals.

It would ban the feeding of deer and prohibit the sale or barter of any baby fowl or rabbits under 8 weeks old. It also outlaws  changing the natural color of baby chickens and ducklings.

Beginning in 2016, livestock will be allowed by permit only. Permits will be approved only if the applicant can show the animal will be kept on at least 40,000 square feet of land under single ownership, at least 20,000 square feet is available per animal, and no barn, fence, corral, cage or similar containment be built within 15 feet of a property line. Wildlife and animal rescues will be grandfathered in and allowed to take in additional animals.

The ordinance also starts a town animal control program and employ an animal control officer to enforce rules, investigate reports of stray or nuisance animals and take animals to the Union County Animal Shelter if the owner cannot be found.

Violation of the town ordinance will range from a verbal warning, to a first offense fee of $100 to a fifth offense penalty of $500 and the possible confiscation of the person's animal.

The Indian Trail Town Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the civic center.