A new animal ordinance was voted on and approved by the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners at their last regular meeting. This new ordinance will go into effect on Aug. 1. The last major revision to this ordinance was done over three decades ago, according to Hannah Houser, the director of Lincoln County Animal Services.

“Lincoln County and animal services both changed pretty significantly over the past five years,” she said to the commissioners. “We now have a no-kill shelter. We’re still one of the only county-run no-kill shelters in North Carolina. Now it’s time for our ordinance to catch up with that.”

The animal services advisory board, which consists of seven residents appointed by the commissioners, assisted with the revisions to the ordinance. Input was also received by the public, the commissioners and county management.

“There are a lot of considerations that we take into account,” she said. “We have certain state laws that we have to abide by, but we also wanted to consider freedom of animal ownership and individual property rights. We wanted to make sure the ordinance is enforceable and takes into account our no-kill philosophy. This is not just an ordinance for people who have animals but those who don’t.”

Commissioner Carrol Mitchem asked Houser what the two biggest complaints were that she sees in animal services. She replied that the first was that they weren’t doing enough to address nuisance complaints. The new ordinance has “beefed up” fees so that repeat offenders would be fined. The second complaint was dog bites from dogs that weren’t vaccinated for rabies.

Ashley Oliphant, who is the chair of the advisory board and the founder of the Humane Voters of Lincoln County spoke at the meeting saying that she was proud of the work that has been done on this new ordinance.

Helping Animals to Survive (HATS) President Kim Phillips also spoke in favor of the ordinance as well.

A resident of Denver, William Davidson thought that the ordinance was going in the right direction but that a leash law should have been included in the new ordinance and that owners were made accountable for the actions of their animals. Davidson told the commissioners that he had been attacked by a dog last year and his cat was killed. 

This new ordinance goes into effect on Aug. 1. It will be made available online at the Lincoln County web site and should be available for viewing at Lincoln County Animal Services or at the main Lincoln County offices.

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