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Animal advocate requests update to ordinances

On Tuesday night, local animal rights advocate Evie Kettler asked the LaGrange City Council to simplify an ordinance specifying when bedding is required for outdoor pets.

Kettler said that the wording of the ordinance makes it difficult to enforce on winter days when temperatures can fluctuate greatly. 

“I am here tonight asking for a simple amendment to the current shelter requirement that was recently passed,” Kettler said. “One thing that is making it hard to enforce the ordinance is the specification that bedding must be provided when the temperatures fall below 32 degrees. I spoke to Captain [Mike] Pheil and Chris Bussey, [supervisor of LaGrange Animal Services], and they agree that it makes more sense to take out the temperature because of how the weather changes.”

Neither Pheil or Bussey were at the meeting on Tuesday, but both addressed the city council when the shelter requirements were discussed last year.

“It would help Chris do his job better if the temperature was taken out, and we just required bedding between November and March,” Kettler said. “It would make things easier, and I have given Meg a copy of the ordinance and marked the things that I feel would help enforce the law better.”

Kettler is the founder of Paws 4 Chainge, a non-profit that builds fences for dog owners who need a place for their pet to live and play outdoors. She has likewise taken a hands-on approach to make sure that dog owners who can’t afford the bedding — that was required beginning last winter — can get what they need.

“We also talked [last year] about a way to distribute straw bedding out to people who cannot afford the bedding,” Kettler said. “We are still working on that, and I would like to call it Helping People Get Their Dogs Winter Ready. Last year, I partnered with Captain Pheil from LaGrange Police and the City of Hogansville Police, and we distributed straw out to the citizens. We plan to do so again this year.”

Kettler praised the city council for measures it has taken in the past to improve how animals are treated in the city, including banning chaining, banning single point tethering and establishing shelter guidelines for times when there are extreme temperatures.

“It is good to know that we can work together to work to improve the lives of the dogs in our community,” Ketler said. “Because of everyone’s efforts, LaGrange now has one of the best shelter requirements for outdoor dogs in Georgia, and this is something to be proud of as a city. I have gone through over 150 ordinances looking for the best shelter requirements out there, and I will tell you that LaGrange is now on that list thanks to all of you.”

As is its standard practice, the LaGrange City Council referred the request to city staff for a recommendation, which will be delivered at a future meeting.

The LaGrange City Council is scheduled to meet again on Oct. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Ave.