Chatham County Commissioners approve new animal ordinance

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Chatham County’s new animal ordinance includes new policies like making animal neglect and cruelty a code violation, and allowing people to feed stray cats.

However, it doesn’t include language for how the animal control director should handle the capture of stray cats.

Commissioners Dean Kicklighter and Jay Jones wanted the ordinance to include a specific policy called trap, neuter, vaccinate and release, or TNVR.

Kicklighter said it might help reduce the number of cats killed by Chatham County, which rose to more than 2,000 in 2018.

“It’s a terrible subject. It’s a touchy subject, and you know I guess one animal is one too many,” said Kicklighter who wanted commissioners to postpone today’s vote.

As passed, the ordinance will leave the decision on TNVR to the director of animal control. Some commissioners, like Tabitha O’Dell, say the policy may not be practical for the county’s needs.

“It’s not just that you catch them for that first round up. At the end of three years, some of those cats are going to still be alive. Who’s going to catch them and give them another round of rabbies shots?”

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