Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 29, 2012

Tazewell officials revising animal control ordinance

By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

TAZEWELL, Va. — Officials in Tazewell County are looking to revise the county’s existing animal-control ordinance due to concerns over barking dogs and vaccination tags.

Tazewell County Attorney Eric Young said the county presently employs a “standard” animal control ordinance.

“We have an animal control ordinance in place,” Young said. “Currently, it requires people to feed and house animals, keep them warm and dry, to not abuse them, and to vaccinate their animals. Dogs have to wear a tag showing that they are vaccinated. It is a pretty standard ordinance based on the state code. We have had this ordinance for some time.”

Young said the county Board of Supervisors is looking into changing when dog vaccination tags are renewed.

“Previous to this year, the board authorized county residents the option to purchase a three-year tag instead of a one-year tag,” he said. “Dogs have to be vaccinated every three years. If the tag is only renewed every time the vaccination is renewed residents will find it easier to renew the tag. It is also cheaper for the county to not print new tags every year.”

Additionally, Young said a concerned citizen has asked the board to look into including an excessive barking section to the ordinance.

“A resident has appeared before the board in previous meetings and proposed an amendment to the ordinance to prohibit excessive barking,” Young said. “The board will be taking this up at their next meeting.”

Young said health and safety are the primary reasons why the county has an established animal control ordinance.

“These are for public health and safety,” Young said. “The spread of rabies is dangerous, and we want to control that. Also, we want to prevent cruelty to animals, which is another statute as well.”

Tazewell County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Hymes said the goal of the changes to the dog tag ordinance is to make things easier for residents.

“We have had an animal control ordinance since 2006,” he said. “This is part of our efforts to review and revise existing ordinances. We also have had a dog tag ordinance for many years. The current proposal is to switch from one-year licenses to a three-year-license. This saves the county money in printing licenses every year.”

Hymes said switching to a three-year tag might encourage more people to keep their licenses up to date.

“It is also more convenient for the citizens,” Hymes said. “By allowing the license to run concurrent with the vaccination residents may purchase their license from participating local veterinarians.”

According to Hymes, the board is discussing the issues separately during their Oct. 2 meeting as the barking dog ordinance might involve further study by county officials.

“We split the two items on our agenda so we would not delay the dog tag ordinance,” Hymes said. “We wanted to update it and then study the animal control ordinance further since at least one resident has issue with noise control involving barking dogs.”

— Contact Kate Coil at

kcoil@bdtonline.com