For the first time in several years, Johnston County has a new animal control ordinance. Over the past 18 months, animal control officials, the county attorney and animal welfare advocates have worked together to put the new policy into place.
The Johnston County Health Department and Johnston County Sheriff’s Office also reviewed the policy and offered input prior to it being brought before Johnston County Commissioners on Monday for their unanimous approval.
Attorney Jennifer Slusser said the changes went from minor to substantial.
The new policy now defines what is considered to be abandonment, adequate foot, adequate water, shade, shelter and tethering.
New civil penalties were added to the ordinance. Those wishing to appeal any fine or fee will now bring the appeal before the Johnston County Board of Adjustments, which is a new part of the ordinance.
There is also a 72 hour hold period for certain animals seized by animal control officers.
Only one citizen spoke about the ordinance during a public hearing. Ken Taylor of Gordon Road, Clayton questioned several sections of the ordinance including how a water bowl should be secured.
Vice Chairman DeVan Barbour told Taylor enforcement of animal control ordinances is complaint driven.
Chairman Tony Braswell commented that there is no perfect document. Commissioner Allen Mims encouraged Taylor to let the county attorney know if he found any loopholes in the new version.
Slusser said the ordinance does not take any authority away from the sheriff’s office or health department to enforce violations of state law.