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Residents advocate anti-tethering law for county to commissioners

POSTED: November 12, 2013 12:22 a.m.

Nine Hall County residents made their plea for the county to adopt an anti-tethering law Monday at the Hall County Board of Commissioners work session.

Rick Aiken, former executive director of the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, spoke for the group at the meeting.

The group has met with some commissioners and county officials to push for adopting a law similar to the anti-tethering measure the city of Gainesville approved in 2007. 

Group member Harriette Taylor said it’s been an uphill battle.

Taylor, who helped get the Gainesville ordinance passed, met with Commissioner Jeff Stowe in late August and has received emailed responses from other commissioners and Mike Ledford, director of Hall County Animal Services. She started lobbying the commission in March. 

Aiken said dogs by nature are social animals and when they are chained outside for long periods of time, they can become depressed or aggressive.

“Everyone of us in here are human,” he said. “But what separates us from all the other animals is that ‘e’ on the end of ‘humane.’”

Children are attracted to dogs and don’t understand not all dogs are friendly, Aiken said.

He brought up an incident in Hall County where a girl was bitten by a chained dog after she went to get a toy. Her dad killed the dog.

Amber Cannon, then 10 years old, was bitten by a chained German shepherd/husky mix in April 2000, according to The Times archive. She sustained a head injury that took 30 stitches to close, an article said. She also had visible tooth marks on her upper torso and arms.

Cannon’s father, Kenneth Lee Cannon, shot the dog 11 days later as it was chained in his neighbor’s yard. Kenneth Cannon, a Gainesville police officer, was later acquitted of criminal wrongdoing.

“It made national headlines; it was an embarrassment to this community,” Aiken said.

Stowe, who has the city of Gainesville in his district, questioned Aiken closely, saying he knows of dogs that jump fences.

Stowe said he’s not for tethering personally, but he doesn’t have a comment on the issue for the county until he gets more information on how it impacts the whole county. 

“What option, if they’re not going to have their dog inside, what options would they have available and if they can’t afford fencing themselves, what options are available through programs that (the anti-tethering advocates) mentioned?” Stowe said. 

Board Chairman Richard Mecum said moving forward depends on the amount of community concern for the issue.


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