This week, the Sheriff’s Office has received several calls from citizens throughout the county with questions, concerns and/or advice regarding the intent of the Sheriff’s Office to propose or endorse a “new” animal ordinance to be voted on by County Council.
Several citizens are under the assumption that this vote is scheduled to take place during the regularly, scheduled Council meeting in February. If you have been told or heard this information please beware that those rumors are false.
A vast amount of misinformation that has been disseminated in circles throughout our communities compels us to address these rumors so that we can perhaps ease any concerns that you may have.
The Sheriff’s Office has not drafted nor do we intend to endorse a “new” ordinance pertaining to animals at the next Council Meeting. Why? Because no such “new” ordinance exists that we are aware of.
As most people know by now, the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the enforcement of state statutes and county ordinances that specifically govern the treatment and care of animals.
Sheriff Clark’s “Animal Enforcement Unit” was created in 2017 pursuant to an agreement between the Sheriff and Pickens County Council.
The transition of the enforcement component from the county’s previously known “Animal Control Unit” has been extremely successful due to the partnership between our elected Council, the county Administration and the Sheriff’s Office.
As stakeholders in the mission to ensure that our animal population is not neglected or abused, the Sheriff’s Office has been asked to engage in future discussions about any need to revisit existing ordinances that are relevant to our animal population.
Item 10 listed on the Council’s agenda for their February meeting is not a vote on a specific ordinance nor is it a public forum to address any item in a proposed ordinance because there has not been any new language created or submitted that we are aware of.
The agenda item is simply the recognized process to trigger the discussions before the appropriate committees so that Council can have visibility of an identified need, if any, that would require an update or revision to the existing ordinances.
The physical tethering of animals has been the topic of interest for local media outlets. This stems from actions and discussions in other municipalities and adjacent counties that have determined their need for such a provision; therefore, it is being assumed that Pickens County is staged to follow in those footsteps.
The Sheriff’s Office is very comfortable in saying to you that our conversations with our county Administration and members of Council reassures us that any change, revision or new ordinance regarding our animal population would only occur after this Council is confident that they have input from several stakeholders to include our citizens, our animal rights activists and law enforcement.
The Sheriff’s Office has no reason to believe that any decision made by Council regarding our animal population would ever be the result of a knee jerk reaction based on the trends of others.
Our limited conversations with Council thus far about our animals leads us to believe that any change in existing regulations would only be made after careful consideration based on the legitimate needs or desires that are unique to Pickens County.
Lastly, the Sheriff’s Office wants you to know that we share in your vision to ensure that our animal population is treated in a humane fashion void of abuse and neglect without the unnecessary infringement on individual rights.
Creed W. Hashe, Chief Deputy