Port Royal officials continue research on animal control ordinance

emoody@beaufortgazette.comAugust 1, 2012 

  • held a public hearing about the annexation of 2.64 acres belonging to First Christian Church of Shell Point, from 100-104 Savannah Highway. No one commented. A final vote will be Wednesday.

  • discussed conveying a total of 170 feet at the intersection of 8th Street and London Avenue so sidewalks can be built. Carl Vandenbosch is opening Last Chance Bait and Tackle on the corner.

  • discussed the need to make several committee appointments, including five people who will review the proposed form-based code. The code focuses more on building appearance than use.

  • heard from resident Kristina Wetzel, who has concerns about people being nuisances near the boardwalk at night and harassing those walking through town. Interim Police Chief Alan Beach said he would look into the lighting downtown and consider increased officer patrols.

  • was informed that Street Music, a free public concert on Paris Avenue sponsored by the town and ArtWorks, will return for its second series of the summer at 6 p.m. Aug. 11. The Gas House Gorillas will perform.

A proposal to tighten animal control laws in Port Royal could be ready for presentation as early as Wednesday.

Town manager Van Willis said during a council work session Wednesday night that he has been working with Councilman Tom Klein on the wording and details of the ordinance.

Klein first raised the need for stricter rules in July, after a dog died from injuries it sustained after an attack by a larger dog, according to a Port Royal Police Department report.

Willis and Klein are collecting and comparing animal control ordinances from across the country. Issues to be resolved include establishing violence thresholds, owner responsibilities and insurance requirements.

Klein said it is important that the ordinance includes penalties when animals bite or injure a domesticated animal as well as a person. The injuries covered by the ordinance could include penalties for the owner of an animal that threatens a bicyclist, who then falls off, Klein said.

Some of the ordinances Klein is looking at include a requirement for owners to provide proof of insurance for animals determined to be "dangerous." Liability coverage of up to $300,000 could be required, he said.

Klein said he still wants consequences for an animal's owner for the first time it bites a person or another animal. In July, he suggested a "one-bite ordinance."

Resident Kristina Wetzel said she wants the ordinance to apply to all animals, not just dogs, which are often the focus of dangerous animal discussions.

"I don't care if it's a bird," she said. "Whatever it is, it has to be across the board."

A first reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Wednesday's town council meeting.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeonPortRoyal.

Related content:

Port Royal official calls for 'one-bite' ordinance

Developer for proposed Port of Port Royal renovations thanks town for patience, July 11, 2012

Port Royal council OKs $4.8-million budget without a tax increase

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