Banks County Opinions...

April 3, 2002


Editorial

The Banks County News
April 3, 2002


Zoning issues must be ‘by the book’
It was a phrase used many times at the Banks County Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday night. And it’s one that the planners must live by.
All zoning decisions have to be “by the book.” In order for zoning to work, those county residents in place to oversee it have to go by “the book” or the zoning regulations.
It doesn’t matter who the applicant is, what their neighbors think or what they plan to do. The applicant can be a fine, upstanding citizen and their request can be something that wouldn’t harm the county, but the plans still must meet all zoning regulations.
It’s a tough job serving on a planning board and telling your neighbors and friends that they can’t do what they want to with their property. It’s a job that many wouldn’t want to take on, so those that do serve us deserve our thanks.

Volunteers again did a great job
The hundreds of people who join together each year to put on an Easter egg hunt that has brought world-wide attention again did a great job this year. The annual event went off without any problems and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
The Garrison family and the hundreds of others who work so hard on this holiday to bring joy to the community and visitors from several states deserve our thanks. The egg hunt is something Banks Countians can be proud of and look forward to each year.

Column

By: Rochelle Beckstine
T
he Banks County News
April 3, 2002

Guns aren’t the answer to animal control
Trespassing is a misdemeanor at best. Kids walk into my yard all of the time. Chasing an out-of-control ball. Petting my dog. Crossing through to the creek. It’s no big deal. I don’t call the city police. I really don’t care.
Dogs and cats come into my yard too. The cats get fed a saucer of milk on the back porch and the dogs get a friendly bark and wiggle from Addie. I live in the city. I expect such occurrences. Domestic animals often take a trip or two when the opportunity presents itself. Addie’s broken away from me on several occasions. My arms are full with Piper and groceries and Addie. The dog who loves to run around and socialize with all the other dogs in the neighborhood tied to their houses, can sense when I don’t have a strong hold on her and will dash off, leash trailing behind. It doesn’t matter where you live. Dogs and cats want to run free if only for a minute or two. They come back. The combination of opportunity and trespassing shouldn’t carry a death sentence for man or beast.
In December, Keith and Annette Patrick’s dog broke free from their son, Dustin, between the yard and the house. They live off Old Ginn Road in the Maysville area of Jackson County on a one-acre lot in a small rural subdivision. Dirt road. No more than a handful of houses. Their dog ran into the woods. Dustin spotted him in a minute or so later in the neighbor’s yard. He called the dog and walked towards him. The dog was running towards Dustin when he was shot only a few yards from where Dustin stood. Dustin threw himself on top of the dog who had collapsed bleeding on the road in front of the Patricks’ house. Dustin’s neighbor had shot the dog. When police arrived, the neighbor claimed he had feared for his life so he had shot the dog. The facts don’t add up. This was not a vicious dog. In fact, he was hardly more than a puppy.
Then, on Saturday, in the same neighborhood, different street, another dog is shot. No one saw who shot the dog. He just showed up at his owner’s house bleeding. Luckily, the vet was able to stop the bleeding and save the dog.
Two dogs in a matter of four months.
If there was a firm animal control policy in place, anyone would be able to take care of a fugitive dog with a quick call to the animal control officer. The officer would be trained to deal with animals that are so called “threats” without resorting to a gun. As a pet owner, I would rather get a call from the pound than have to rush my dog to the vet with a bullet in her.
However, even without the animal control officer, there is human decency and respect.
There could have been an alternate ending to the Patricks’ story. Their dog breaks away from Dustin when he’s trying to move him from the yard to the house. Dustin calls for the dog for a minute or so. Annette calls out to Dustin, telling him that the neighbors have just called to say the dog is running around their house. Dustin runs over and grabs the dog’s collar and they go home. The neighbors knew the phone number. They knew the family. Yet they had no qualms about shooting the family pet a few yards from where the Patricks’ youngest child stood. What kind of world do we live in?
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.

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