The City of Thomson's Animal Control Ordinance goes into effect on Tuesday, Feb. 1, and Thomson pet owners are urged to make themselves aware of their responsibilities under the new ordinance and to begin properly restraining their pets.
Under the new ordinance pet owners are now responsible for ensuring that their dog or cat is properly identified by an identification tag, tattoo, or some other marking device that includes the owner's name, address and telephone number.
Another new change is that the owner of a dog or cat is responsible for properly restraining the pet. This can be accomplished by housing the pet within a secure enclosure or within the property limits of the owner, by keeping the pet on a chain or leash and within a vehicle while being transported or parked.
Animals running at large, chasing vehicles, damaging the property of others, making excessive noise, or creating unsanitary conditions or generally being a nuisance will be subject to being caught, impounded and the owner cited.
Dangerous animals will be dealt with under a different ordinance which details more harsh restraints and consequences. That ordinance was not amended but still remains in effect.
The primary motivation in passing the new ordinance was to emphasize the responsibility of the animal owner to control and be responsible for their pets. The city has experienced a large number of stray animals, and the ordinance gives the city the new authority and procedure to following addressing nuisance animals.
Animals found in violation of the ordinance may be impounded. If the animal is identified it may be confined in the animal shelter operated by McDuffie County on Whiteoak Road. Unidentified animals may be impounded and ultimately destroyed in a humane manner.