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LaGrange City Council may revisit dog tethering ordinance

The LaGrange City Council may revisit its trolley system ordinance as it relates to restraining dogs, following the request from a concerned resident.

Evie Kettler, an area resident and animal rights advocate, proposed to council that “dogs not be tethered outside 24/7 on runner systems” during its Thursday night city council meeting.

Kettler specified that she was requesting the ordinance be changed so that a dog could be on a runner system “under supervision” and only for “a specific amount of time” as a means of temporarily restraining a dog for no more than a few hours at a time.   

“If you look at the information that is on, not all, but almost every runner system, [they] come with a warning that these are not a permanent means of restraining a dog,” Kettler said.

“They are meant as a temporary means and while the dog is under supervision.”

Kettler noted that long-term tethering of animals can be unhealthy and lead to aggression problems in the animal.

Kettler has advocated for animal rights in the community since at least 2015. Earlier in July, Kettler approached the West Point City Council on concerns of dogs being chained in her neighborhood during the council’s work session.

Kettler visited the LaGrange City Council in 2015 concerning the chaining of dogs.

As a result, the council updated its ordinance, ultimately banning the chaining of dogs and requiring shelter and weather-related needs be met when a dog is restrained outside.

Kettler said she wanted to mirror the change in the ordinance after Newnan’s ordinance, which does not allow tethering unless “a competent person is outside with the animal and within the person’s line of sight of the animal or unless the tether or other restraint is being held by a competent person,” as stated in Newnan’s municipal charter.

The county seat, Coweta County, does allow tethering within limits.

The Coweta County municipal charter states that “no animal may be attached to such a cable trolley system for more than four hours nor from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.” and adds that the cable the animal is attached to must be at least 10 feet.

Council Member Mark Mitchell suggested that city staff look over LaGrange’s own tethering ordinance and communicate with animal control and the LaGrange Police Department for a solution if needed, to which Mayor Jim Thornton agreed.

In other business, the council held a public hearing to receive comments on the Development Authority of LaGrange issuance of bonds for the benefit of LaGrange College. The federal tax authority requires that anytime a development authority issues bonds on behalf of a private institution that a public comment period be held.

No one came forward to speak at the public hearing.

The council additionally reviewed a notice of claim for damages filed on behalf of Retasha Taylor, who was allegedly struck by a city employee on Mitchell Avenue at its intersection with New Franklin Road on May 18, 2021, according to documents provided by the city of LaGrange.

City Manager Meg Kelsey suggested the council deny the claim “according to Taylor’s insurance carrier,” to which council unanimously voted to do so.

The council also held second and final readings on two items. The first was to rezone property located adjacent to Vernon Street and Hills & Dales FarmRoad for commercial use. The second was to modify the speed limit on a portion of Greenville Street from 40 mile per hour to 30 mile per hour.

Council voted in favor of both items.