By Tia Lynn Ivey
The Madison Mayor and City Council unanimously voted to pass the new animal control ordinance minus the clause stipulating mandatory sterilization.
The ordinance previously proposed mandatory sterilization of dogs and cats four months or older, unless they meet certain exemptions, such as owners being licensed for breeding through the Department of Agriculture, animals registered with a national or international club, or a licensed veterinarian deeming the animal medically unfit for sterilization.
The council believed this went too far in regulating how people breed their pets.
However, the council did approve the proposed changes of the ordinance to create a new designation for dogs that do not quite meet the “dangerous dog” requirements but surpass a “nuisance” status.
In order for a dog to be deemed a “dangerous dog,” they have to bite or attack a person. Animal Control Officer Crystal devised a category for dogs who have attacked other animals or that have damaged property, deeming such dogs as a “public threat.” Dogs in this category will be subject to stricter confinement requirements, be monitored by animal control for 18 months, and the owners would be subject to fines and citations.
“It resembles the dangerous dog designation,” said Berisko at the council at an earlier work session. “What this will do is close that gap between a nuisance and dangerous dogs classification.”
The council may revisit looking at sterilization requirements in the future.