3/3/2020 Work Session Minutes
GORDON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
WORK SESSION MINUTES
MARCH 3, 2020
The Gordon County Board of Commissioners held a Work Session Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at 5:45 p.m. in the conference room of the Administration Building.
BECKY HOOD, CHAIRMAN
M.L. OWENS, COMMISSIONER
NORRIS SEXTON, COMMISSIONER
KEVIN CUNNINGHAM, COMMISSIONER
JIM LEDBETTER, COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR
ANNETTE BERRY, CLERK
APPROXIMATELY 70 GUESTS
Chairman Hood called the meeting to order.
County Administrator Ledbetter explained and discussed, for the Board Members, the agenda items listed on the Regular Meeting Agenda.
Mr. James Surdi, 165 Granny Smith Drive, Calhoun, in the Orchard Subdivision, came before the Board to speak about code compliance and requesting that the ordinance for loose and unleashed dogs in neighborhoods be changed to allow the Animal Control Department and the Sheriff’s Department be authorized to issue fines to offenders. Mr. Surdi stated that citizens can’t walk their dogs in the neighborhood in peace for fear of attack while walking in their neighborhoods due to dogs running loose and being aggressive toward adults and children. One neighbor’s dog was out all afternoon recently chasing people and cars. Sheriff’s Deputy came out and sat in front of the house where the owner of the dog lives and waited for the owner to come home. The dog chased an elderly lady into her house trying to get out of her car. So the Deputy was having to escort people into their house from their cars because the dog was very aggressive. Currently all the Animal Control Department, and the Sheriff’s Department, can do is just advise the owners to keep their dog inside. Finally the owner of the dog came home and took the dog into the house. In the meantime the Deputy had called Animal Control and she was on her way, before she could get there the owner came home and put the dog in the house. There is an ordinance on the books for unleashed animals and here is this officer sitting there for two hours waiting for the owner to come home and all he could do was put the dog in the house. The owner should have been hit with a hefty fine. Also parking on the street is not enforced, people parking on the street inhibiting the trash pickups and school buses. We called the Sheriff and an officer came out and he told me that they don’t give parking tickets. So the Sheriff doesn’t give parking tickets, doesn’t give unleashed dog tickets and Animal Control doesn’t fine anyone. There is an ordinance on the books for unleashed animals but there is no consequence. The Sheriff and, or the Animal Control should be empowered to issue fines for people who break the law.
Administrator Ledbetter also mentioned that he has received some calls on this issue as well from former commissioner Sid Collins who lives in the Nicholsville area and a Barbara Faulkner who lives in another area had actually been bitten, and the dog is still out there. In the ordinance, the only remedy that Animal Control has, they would be required to pick the animal up; they cannot always catch them, and make the owner pay $35 to get the animal back. Commissioner Owens asked if the Administrator could come up with an ordinance by the next meeting with a recommendation on changing the ordinance. Administrator Ledbetter commented that one thing that was talked about was giving the Animal Control and the Ordinance Officer the authority to issue citations, then on those citations, the Magistrate Court may issue a fine up to $1,000 and six months in jail. No one wants to do that on a very simple case, but that would give the Magistrate Court the discretion. Or having stair-step fines of $100 first offense, $250 second offense, $500 third offense.
Administrator Ledbetter was instructed by the Board to bring something back to the next meeting in two weeks for Board’s consideration for amending the ordinance and he asked if any of the Board members have any ideas for what would fit the best, then to please get in touch with him with those suggestions.
Commissioner Owens made a motion to adjourn the Work Session. Commissioner Sexton seconded the motion and all voted aye.
There being no further business, the Work Session adjourned at 5:55 p.m.