More Jackson County Opinions...

August 1, 2001

By Rochelle Beckstine
The Jackson Herald
August 1, 2001

A closer look at animal control
Several residents have expressed concern in the last few weeks about the impending animal control ordinance. Rumors have abounded that rural dogs will now have to be leashed and chickens and goats will be illegal. None of this is true. I got a copy of the proposed ordinance from the county commission office and read over it very carefully. What it proposes is this:
·All cats, dogs, cows, fowl, horses, swine, domesticated wild animals and domesticated exotic animals must be within the property limits of the owner or controlled by a leash or at heel beside a competent person, obedient to commands or within a vehicle. The animal can go on another's property with expressed permission of the other person.
·Abandoning any of the above animals for a period of 36 hours or more is illegal. Abandonment is assumed if an animal is left unattended without food or water on public property or on private property without the permission of its owner.
·An animal control department is founded with an animal control officer empowered to enforce the animal control ordinance.
·All dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies and wear a secure collar with proof of the vaccination around the neck. Animals over four months must be registered with the county. The registration fee will be set at a later date by the board of commissioners.
·Owners of animals that are considered dangerous or potentially dangerous must hold certificates of registration for those animals. The certificate of registration will cost $100. Animals can be classified as dangerous or potentially dangerous only after inflicting "severe injury" on humans or other animals or "aggressively biting, attacking or endangering the lives of humans or other animals without provocation." The owner will be notified of the classification by the animal control officer and will have the right to request a hearing before the board of commissioners to dispute the classification. Dangerous animals must be confined. The owner must post a sign warning of the dangerous animal and the owner must hold a $100,000 insurance policy to cover personal or property damages which might be inflicted by the animal.
·Any person who violates the ordinance will be issued a citation. The first offense will be punishable by a $25 or more fine or one day in the Jackson County jail or both the confinement and the fine. Second offenses will be punishable by $50 or more or two days in jail or both. Court costs could also be imposed. Subsequent offenses may be punished by the maximum amount allowed for the violation of county ordinances.
·Abandoned animals can be impounded by the county. If the owner is known, the animal control officer will notify him that his animal has been impounded. The owner can pick the dog up within five days by paying an impoundment fee, which has not yet been set by the board of commissioners. Unclaimed animals will be disposed of.
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.

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By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
August 1, 2001

Save the chickens; eat a whale
THE impending arrival of hunting season ­ squirrel season begins August 15 ­ this week's frenzied response to Charlie Broadwell's anti-PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) column reminded me of a recent email from an old friend.
In the email was a link to a story on the PETA website. It seems the PETAs are encouraging everyone to start eating whale meat. That's right, whale meat. From whales. You know, the big ugly mammals that Jane Fonda and Alec Baldwin and PETA have fought for years to protect from commercial harvest.
Here's their logic. According to PETA, folks in the United States consume 26 billion animals per year. The number is so high because most of the animals we consume are relatively small ­ chickens, pigs, cows, and so on.
The PETA folks say that because whales ­ blue whales in particular ­ are so large, we'd only have to consume 500,000 of them a year if we went to a whale-only diet. We'd thus save 25,999,500,000 animals per year. That's pretty impressive.
And they say it tastes like chicken. Call it chicken of the sea.
Not only would eating whales save so many animal lives, it would solve Jackson County's animal control problem, or at least make it a less heart-wrenching situation.
With no one in the United States eating chicken, all the area poutry farmers could open their doors and let the chickens go free. Then all the stray cats and dogs in the county could belly up to the buffet line.
No more starving puppies. One more problem solved.
But wait a minute. Even with our burgeoning stray pet problem, our homeless animals could never consume enough chickens to control the population. Imagine all those chickens running through our Gwinnett transplants' yards and pooping on the front porches. In Nicholson alone, residents' taxes would go through the roof as the city scrambled to hire four more chicken catchers to enforce the city chicken ordinance.
And what about all the damage to the Expeditions and Suburbans on our roads? Do you realize just how badly a running over a chicken can damage an SUV?
The obvious solution would be to institute a chicken hunting season. Just to make it sound more sophisticated, we could even start referring to them as field hens.
Either that, or charge a fee for surrounding counties to send us all their strays.
I believe the end of turkey (which basically looks and tastes like a big chicken) season in the spring also marks the end of all hunting seasons until the little furry-tailed yard rodents start taking cover a couple of weeks from now. Chicken, er, field hen season would fill the void nicely. Opening day could be May 1, closing day September 1 (to coincide with opening day for dove, which tastes like chicken basted in bermuda grass resin).
By the way, I haven't eaten squirrel in a while, but it's a downright tasty meat. Kind of like chicken, only gamier. Beats possum (which tastes like chicken that's been in the fridge a week) any day.
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald. He may be reached at the sports desk at (706) 367-2348, or via email at
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