On September 12, 2006, I attended a meeting of the Floyd County Commission that included a public hearing on their revised animal control ordinances. We were told that the revisions did not include any changes to the existing code section that designates American Staffordshire Terriers as “vicious”. We were also told that section of the code would not be opened at this hearing. Two constituents who had made previous arrangements to speak at the hearing admitted that was their primary concern and they stated that they felt some dogs were responsible for bad deeds, but there were no bad breeds. Another constituent who has American Staffordshire Terriers as house dogs confirmed that if she did not have the required five foot cement secured fence, her dogs did not need to be muzzled in the house or in the car, but did need to be muzzled any time they were out of those confines including when they were chained in the yard to relieve themselves.
We were told that most of the ordinance revisions were designed to bring the County Code in line with the Georgia State Code including providing for Potentially Dangerous and Dangerous Dog classifications with accompanying housing restrictions and appeals processes, providing rabies vaccination requirements and procedures, and requiring spay/neuter surgeries for dogs adopted from the shelter within a specified period of time after the adoption.
The revisions also included changes to the nuisance definitions allowing citations to be issued for things such as excessive barking and other noises, excessive excrement odor, and excrement not promptly removed from a neighbor’s yard. Even though Floyd County does not have a leash law, they do have an existing restraining law that prohibits dogs running at large and allows dogs off-lead if they are under verbal control.
The American Kennel Club Canine Legislative Department and the Georgia Canine Coalition both wrote to the Commission requesting they remove the “vicious” designation of the specific breeds while they were revising their ordinances.
Georgia Canine Coalition, Inc.