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Animal ordinance update would be good start

Deanna Kimbro is correct. We need to start somewhere.

Representatives of the Natchez Adams County Humane Society, including Kimbro, recently proposed an amended animal control ordinance to the Natchez Board of Aldermen.

In essence, the amended ordinance would require pets here to be spayed or neutered and would require breeders to purchase an annual permit.

It’s about time.

The plight of unwanted and abused animals here and elsewhere in the South is horrific. Every person in this community who has an ounce of humanity knows that. We must change that.

Communities in the Northern and Midwestern states accept our rescued animals by the thousands a year. Some argue those areas don’t have as many stray pets because of their harsh winter weather. As someone who spent 20 years living in Michigan, I know that’s not correct. Those areas are far ahead of most Southern states in legislation regulating the number of pets a household can have, as well as licensing and permitting of pets that require spay and neutering.

It’s past time for us to step up.

Kimbro said the amended ordinance was fashioned from ones other Southern cities have adopted. It can be amended further, but at least it’s a starting point for Natchez.

At the very least, we must require that pets be spayed and neutered. The proposed ordinance would require pet owners to pay $150 per unaltered pet — those who have not been spayed or neutered — per year. Some think that number should be higher — much more than the current cost of spaying a pet — in order to be a more effective deterrent.

Humane Society Shelter Manager Lena McKnight told aldermen the ordinance aims at preventing pet overpopulation as well as preventing animals from being bred for dogfighting purposes. Only registered animals would be eligible for breeding permits. Pit bull mixes and other unregistered mixed breeds would not qualify for breeding permits. And the ordinance covers cats, as well as dogs.

We claim to live in a civilized society. One would not know it based on the monstrous things we have seen humans do to animals right here in the Miss-Lou.

It is more disturbing still when law enforcement apprehends those sickening individuals and they receive a slap on the wrist or less from the judicial system.

The hope is this ordinance will work on the front end, and fewer unwanted animals will be born to meet the fate of abuse and neglect at the hands of uncaring people.

The world — and our little place in it — will be better for it.

Jan Griffey is general manager of The Natchez Democrat. You may reach her by calling 601-445-3627 or emailing jan.griffey@natchezdemocrat.com.

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