In 2014, animal activists were pleased when the city of Monroe adopted a new animal ordinance that included an anti-tether provision. Many of those same activists were disappointed when, the following month, the Walton County Board of Commissioners declined to do the same.
Now, two years later, it looks like the ordinances may be reversed. At the September City Council meeting, the Monroe City Council had the first reading of an amended animal ordinance that is in line with the Walton County animal ordinance. It will be adopted next month following the second reading.
Patrick Kelley, city of Monroe code director, said the county had requested that all cities adopt an ordinance in keeping with the Walton County animal ordinance in order for Animal Control to enforce the regulations.
“The county will enforce it if it is the same, but we can make ours more stringent if we want to enforce the more stringent parts of it,” Kelley said.
At issue in both cases was the anti-tether provision that the city adopted and the county didn’t.
“We can add on additional regulations if we want to have the more stringent provisions, but (the county) will not enforce them,” Kelley said.
Monroe City Councilman Larry Bradley noted that animal activists had specifically requested the changes and were happy with what Monroe had done to make the ordinance safer and more humane for the animals.
“We have had some people let us know that they were disappointed in the county for not following ours. We had clear anti-tethering provisions in ours,” Bradley said.
Monroe Public Safety Director Keith Glass agreed. He said that they police department had been enforcing some of those regulations and he felt that it actually helped them to do so as the current Monroe ordinance stood.
“I feel that we need to say it has also helped our officers safety at times,” Glass said.
The council voted to look at layering the more stringent anti-tethering regulations back for the city and to meet with the code officer and Walton County Animal Control to figure out what needed to be done before the second reading and adoption next month. It was understood that only the sections in the base ordinance would be enforced by Walton County Animal Control and those related to the more stringent anti tethering would be handled by the city.