AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE CODE OF THE CITY
OF ELBERTON BY DELETING CHAPTER 6 “ANIMALS” IN ITS ENTIRETY AND REPLACING IT WITH A NEW CHAPTER 6 “ANIMALS” FOR THE PURPOSES OF REGULATING VICIOUS
AND DANGEROUS ANIMALS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
WHEREAS: The staff has received numerous complaints through the years in regard to animal activities currently unregulated by the Code of the City of Elberton; and
WHEREAS: There is need to enact a process for enforcing the Vicious and Dangerous Dog Code of the State of Georgia; and
WHEREAS: Staff recognizes the need for statutory authority to respond to these complaints in an effective and fair manner; and
WHEREAS: The Chief of Police have recommended the enactment of these regulations to the City Manager; and
WHEREAS: The City Manager concurs with these recommendations and asks for their adoption by the Mayor and Council of the City of Elberton.
Chapter 6 “Animals” be deleted in its entirety and replaced with a new Chapter 6 “Animals” as follows:
ARTICLE I. IN GENERAL
Section 6-1. Appointment of an Animal Control Officer.
The City Manager shall appoint an Animal Control Officer as authorized in Section 31 of the Charter.
Section 6-2. Enforcement by Police Department.
All police officers of the city shall have all of the powers and authority that is vested in the Animal Control Officer and shall, in his absence or in case of emergency, perform all the duties of the Animal Control Officer.
Section 6-3. Penalties.
Unless otherwise provided for by specific section of this chapter, any person violating the provisions of this chapter shall be punished as provided in Chapter 1 "General Provisions", Section 1-9 "General Penalty."
Section 6-4. Prosecution.
The Animal Control Officer shall be empowered to initiate any prosecution pursuant to the provisions of the chapter against any owner or custodian of a dog or other animal for violating the provisions of this chapter. A prosecution may also be instituted against any owner or custodian of a dog or other animal upon the receipt of a complaint filed by any citizen with the Animal Control Officer.
Section 6-5. Definitions.
1. "Dangerous dog" means any dog that, according to the records kept by the city:
(a) inflicts a severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property at any time; or
(b) aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans without provocation after the dog has been classified as a potentially dangerous dog and after the owner has been notified of such classification.
(c) A dog that inflicts an injury upon a person when the dog is being used by a law enforcement officer to carry out the law enforcement officer’s official duties shall not be a dangerous dog.
(d) A dog shall not be a dangerous dog or a potentially dangerous dog if the injury inflicted by the dog was sustained by a person who, at the time, was committing a willful trespass or other tort or was tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or had in the past been observed or reported to have tormented, abused, or assaulted the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.
2. “Owner” means any natural person or any legal entity, including, but not limited to, a corporation, partnership, firm, or trust owning, possessing, harboring, keeping or having custody or control of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog within the corporate limits.
3. “Potentially dangerous dog” means any dog that without provocation, bites a human being on public or private property at any time.
4. “Proper enclosure” means an enclosure for keeping a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog while on the owner’s property securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen, fence, or structure suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the dog from escaping. Any such pen or structure shall have secure sides and a secure top, and, if the dog is enclosed within a fence, all sides of the fence shall be of sufficient height and the bottom of the fence shall be constructed or secured in such a manner as to prevent the dog’s escape either from over or from under the fence. Any such enclosure shall also provide protection from the elements for the dog.
5. “Severe injury” means any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery or a physical injury that results in death.
ARTICLE II. DOMESTICATED ANIMALS
Section 6-30. Running at large prohibited; duty of owner or custodian.
(a) It shall be unlawful for the owner or custodian of any dog or other animal
located within the city to fail to keep such dog or other animals at all times either:
(1) confined on the property of such owner or custodian; or
(2) on a leash in the custody of a responsible person on the public streets;
(3) in an automobile and in the custody of a person competent by law to drive
such automobile; or
(4) tied or secured while riding in a truck.
Section 6-31. Impoundment; procedure for disposition of impounded animals.
(a) It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Officer to seize and impound all dogs or other animals found running at large within the Corporate Limits
of the city in violation of this chapter. Any dog or other animal seized and
impounded shall be detained for a minimum period of forty eight (48)
hours and, if not claimed and redeemed by the owner or custodian within
such period, shall be disposed of in such manner as the Animal Control
Officer shall designate; provided, however, that whenever the name of any
person appears on the collar of any dog or other animal seized or
impounded, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, such person, owner
or custodian shall be notified of such seizure, in writing, by the Animal
Control Officer by notice addressed to him at his last known address and
deposited in the United States mail. Diligent inquiry shall be made to
ascertain the identity of the owner, and such owned dog or other animal
shall not be disposed of until five (5) days after the written notice shall
have been given.
8(b) When the name of the owner or the custodian shall not appear on the collar of the dog or other animal, the Animal Control Officer shall make a reasonable investigation and inquiry to ascertain the owner or custodian of such dog or other animal and shall give such owner or custodian the same notice by postcard as provided in subsection (a) of this section.
If such investigation fails to reveal the name of the owner or custodian, then such dog or other animal may be disposed of by the Animal Control Officer after a period of forty eight (48) hours as provided in subsection (a) of this section.
(c) Any dog or other animal seized and impounded pursuant to this chapter
may be redeemed at any time prior to the disposition of such dog or other
animal by the payment of the currently required impoundment fee and any
daily maintenance fees as adopted by the Mayor and Council from time to time.
(d) The Animal Control Officer shall keep accurate written records showing
the final disposition of all dogs or other animals impounded by him under
the provisions of this chapter, which records shall be open and available
for inspection by any citizen or officer, or agent of the city.
Section 6-32. Removal of fecal deposits required.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person who harbors, possesses or is in charge of a domestic animal, either restrained or unrestrained, or who harbors or is in charge of any animal to fail to remove excrement deposited by such animal on any property other than the property of the owner of the animal.
(b) Animal excrement shall be removed and disposed of in a sanitary manner.
(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to an animal providing service to the handicapped.
Section 6-33. Keeping barking dogs or crying cats prohibited.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or harbor any dog which habitually barks, howls, or yelps; any cat which habitually cries or howls; or any other animal which habitually makes noise which would offend a person of ordinary sensibilities to the great discomfort of the peace and quiet of any neighborhood, or in such manner as to materially disturb or annoy persons in the neighborhood who are of ordinary sensibilities.
(b) Whenever a complaint is received that a dog which habitually barks, howls or yelps; a cat which habitually cries or howls; or other animal which habitually makes noise which offends a person of ordinary sensibilities is being kept by any person in the city, the owner or custodian of the animal shall be notified that a complaint has been received and that the owner or custodian shall take whatever steps necessary to alleviate the noise.
Section 6-34. Disposition of injured or dead animals lying in streets.
(a) The city and its designated agents shall have the power to humanely dispose of dogs or other animals injured and lying in the streets or public ways of the city whenever it shall appear that the animal in injured and in suffering or great pain.
(b) The city and its designated agents shall remove dead animals lying in the streets or public ways of the city.
Section 6-35. Regulation of livestock.
(a) It shall be unlawful to maintain livestock inside the Corporate Limits of the city, including but not limited to horses, mules, ponies, donkeys, cows, calves, hogs, pigs, chickens, and other fowl unless a property is in excess of one (1) acre as follows:
(1) Horses, mules, ponies, donkeys, cows, calves, hogs, pigs, or other large animals will be limited to two (2) per acre and two (2) for each additional acre,
(2) Chickens and other fowl will be limited to twelve (12) per acre and twelve (12) for each additional acre,
(3) Animal or fowl quarters shall be at least 100 feet from any dwelling.
(4) Temporary housing of animals by circuses and other events using animals.
(b) Once a week manure will be placed in a single pile or heap and an effective disinfectant known to prevent the breeding of flies and disease germs shall be administered to the single pile or heap.
(c) Abatement of a nuisance or health hazard in relation to livestock occurs under the authority of Sections 16-32 of the Code.
(d) These restrictions are not limited to the animals listed in subsection (a) of this section, but may be added to at the discretion of the Public Works Director or City Manager in any and all situations involving animals.
ARTICLE III. DANGEROUS AND VICIOUS DOGS
Section 6-60. Designation of enforcement officer and Animal Control Board.
(a) The Animal Control Officer is the designated official for the enforcement of this article.
(b) The Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals is designated as the Animal Control Board for the city.
Section 6-61. Classification as a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog.
(a) Upon receiving a report of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog as defined in this chapter, the Animal Control Officer shall make such investigations and inquiries with regard to such report as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this article.
(b) When the Animal Control Officer classifies a dog as a dangerous dog or reclassifies a potentially dangerous dog as a dangerous dog, the Animal Control Officer shall notify the dog’s owner as follows:
(1) The notice shall be in writing and mailed by certified mail to the owner’s last known address.
(2) The notice shall include a summary of the Animal Control Officer’s findings that formed the basis for the dog’s classification as a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog.
(3) The notice shall be dated and shall state that the owner, within fifteen (15) days after the date shown on the notice, has a right to request a hearing on the Animal Control Officer’s determination that the dog is a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog.
(4) The notice shall state that the hearing, if requested, shall be before the Animal Control Board.
(5) The notice shall state that if a hearing is not requested, the Animal Control Officer’s determination that the dog is a dangerous dog or a potentially dangerous dog will become effective for all purposes under this article on a date specified in the notice, which shall be after the last day on which the owner has a right to request a hearing.
(6) The notice shall include a form to request a hearing before the Animal Control Board and shall provide specific instructions on mailing or delivering such request to the Board.
(c) When the Animal Control Board receives a request for a hearing as provided for in this article, it shall schedule a hearing within thirty (30) days after receiving the request. The Board shall notify the dog owner in writing by certified mail of the date, time, and place of the hearing, and such notice shall be mailed to the dog owner at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing. At the hearing, the dog owner shall be given the opportunity to testify and present evidence and in addition thereto, the Board shall receive such other evidence and hear such other testimony as the Board may find reasonably necessary to make a determination either to sustain, modify, or overrule the Animal Control Officer’s classification of the dog. Within ten (10) days after the date of the hearing, the governing authority or board shall notify the dog owner, in writing, by certified mail of its determination on the matter. If such determination is that the dog is a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog, the notice shall specify the date upon which that determination is effective.
Section 6-62. Issuance of a Certificate of Registration.
(a) An owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog must have a certificate of registration issued by the Animal Control Officer on an annual basis.
(b) An owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog may be issued a certificate of registration, when the animal control officer finds sufficient evidence of the following:
(1) A proper enclosure to confine the dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog
(2) A clearly visible warning sign as prescribed by the State of Georgia posted on the premises where the dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog is lodged or kept.
(3) Policy of insurance in the amount of at least $15,000.00 issued by an insurer authorized to transact business in Georgia insuring the owner of the dangerous dog against liability for any personal injuries inflicted by the dangerous dog.
(4) A surety bond in the amount of $15,000.00 or more issued by a surety company authorized to transact business in Georgia payable to any person or person injured by the dangerous dog.
(c) A certificate of registration will not be issued until a registration fee is paid as set from time to time by the Mayor and Council.
(d) A copy of the certificate of registration and all case information relating to a designation of dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog will be kept on file in the Office of the City Clerk and by the Animal Control Officer.
Section 6-63. Responsibilities of the owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog.
(a) The owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog shall notify the Animal Control Officer within twenty-four (24) hours if the dog is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked a human, has died, or has been sold or donated. If the dog has been sold or donated, the owner shall also provide the Animal Control Officer with the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner of the dog.
(b) The owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog shall notify the animal control officer if the owner is moving from the animal control officer’s jurisdiction. The owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog who is a new resident of Elberton and has moved from another State shall register the dangerous dog within thirty (30) days after becoming a resident of Elberton. The owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog who moves from another jurisdiction in Georgia into Elberton shall register the dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog within ten (10) days after becoming a resident.
(c) It is unlawful for an owner of a dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside a proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and is under the physical restraint of a responsible person. The muzzle shall be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but will prevent it from biting any person.
(d) It is unlawful for the owner of a potentially dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside a proper enclosure unless the dog is restrained by a substantial chain or leash and is under the restraint of a responsible person.
Section 6-64. Reasons for immediate confiscation; destruction of dog.
(a) A dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by the Animal Control Officer or by a law enforcement officer or by another designated individual if the:
(1) Dog does not have a valid certificate of registration,
(2) Owner of the dog does not secure the required liability insurance and/or surety bond,
(3) Dog is not maintained in a proper enclosure, and
(4) Dog is outside a proper enclosure in violation of Section 6-63 (c).
(b) A potentially dangerous dog shall be confiscated in the same manner as a dangerous dog if the:
(1) Dog does not have a valid certificate of registration,
(2) Dog is not maintained in a proper enclosure, and
(3) Dog is outside a proper enclosure in violation of Section 6-63 (d).
(c) Any dog that has been confiscated shall be returned to its owner upon the owner’s compliance with the provisions of this article and upon the payment of reasonable confiscation costs. In the event the owner has not complied with the provisions of this article within twenty (20) days of the date the dog was confiscated, said dog shall be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.
Section 6-65. Penalties.
(a) The owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog in violation of this article is subject to the penalties enacted by the State of Georgia in the Official Code of Georgia 4-8-28.
ARTICLE IV. BIRD SANCTUARY
Section 6-100. City designated as a bird sanctuary.
(a) The entire area embraced within the Corporate Limits of the City of Elberton is hereby
designated as a bird sanctuary.
Section 6-101. Prohibited activities.
It shall be unlawful to trap, hunt, shoot, or attempt to shoot or molest
any manner within the Corporate Limits any bird or wild fowl, or to rob bird
nests or wild fowl nests by persons or domestic animals; provided,
however, if starlings or similar birds are found to be congregating in such
numbers and in a particular locality that they constitute a nuisance or
menace to health or property in the opinion of the proper health authorities
of the city, then in such event the proper health authorities shall meet with
the representative of either the Audubon Society Bird Club, the Garden
Club or the Humane Society, or as many of said clubs as are found to exist
in Elberton, after having given at least three days actual notice of the time
and place of said meeting to the representatives of said clubs. If as a result
of said meeting no satisfactory alternative is found to abate such nuisance,
then said birds may be destroyed in such numbers and in such manner as is
deemed advisable by the City Manager, in consultation with the Animal
Control officials, Chief of Police, or health authorities of the city or the county.
Section 2. Effective Date.
The provisions of this ordinance shall become effective in accordance with the Charter and Code of the City of Elberton.
Section 3. Conflicts.
All ordinance or parts of ordinance in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.
City Clerk/Deputy Clerk
First Reading: Mayor Pro tempore McConnell, July 10, 2000
Second Reading: Mayor Pro tempore McConnell, August 7, 2000
Adopted: August 7, 2000
Effective Date: August 11, 2000