Port Royal officials continue research on animal control ordinance

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Port Royal officials continue research on animal control ordinance

By ERIN MOODY
emoody@beaufortgazette.com
Published Wednesday, August 1, 2012   |  388 Words  |  

A proposal to tighten animal control laws in Port Royal could be ready for presentation as early as Wednesday.

Town manager Van Willis said during a council work session Wednesday night that he has been working with Councilman Tom Klein on the wording and details of the ordinance.

Klein first raised the need for stricter rules in July, after a dog died from injuries it sustained after an attack by a larger dog, according to a Port Royal Police Department report.

Willis and Klein are collecting and comparing animal control ordinances from across the country. Issues to be resolved include establishing violence thresholds, owner responsibilities and insurance requirements.

Klein said it is important that the ordinance includes penalties when animals bite or injure a domesticated animal as well as a person. The injuries covered by the ordinance could include penalties for the owner of an animal that threatens a bicyclist, who then falls off, Klein said.

Some of the ordinances Klein is looking at include a requirement for owners to provide proof of insurance for animals determined to be "dangerous." Liability coverage of up to $300,000 could be required, he said.

Klein said he still wants consequences for an animal's owner for the first time it bites a person or another animal. In July, he suggested a "one-bite ordinance."

Resident Kristina Wetzel said she wants the ordinance to apply to all animals, not just dogs, which are often the focus of dangerous animal discussions.

"I don't care if it's a bird," she said. "Whatever it is, it has to be across the board."

A first reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Wednesday's town council meeting.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeonPortRoyal.

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