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Proposed rules address exotic pets, livestock
Escaped snakes, cows and horses have caused Hall County problems
Two pythons relax in their enclosure Monday afternoon at Village Pets, a longtime pet store located in the Big Lots shopping center. Hall County is looking to tighten regulations for exotic pets and livestock by getting a registry of people who buy exotic animals.

Hall County Animal Control has made a number of policy changes that apply to a variety of animals, including snakes and horses.

Hall County Animal Control Director Mike Ledford presented the new code to the Hall County Board of Commissioners at its work session Monday.

While revising the code to include the new Hall County animal shelter in place of the Humane Society, Ledford said they realized other things that needed to be updated.

Hall County is set to open its first animal shelter Oct. 1 after parting ways with the Humane Society, which currently houses animals the county impounds.

"We were kind of forced into taking a long look at the ordinance because of the verbiage," Ledford said. "While we were doing that there were some other issues with the ordinance that we needed to look at."

Ledford said he would like to form a registry for snakes and other exotic pets. He said animal control receives calls about loose snakes fairly often.

When pet snakes escape from their cages, they go out looking for food.

"The larger reptiles, the constrictor snakes have become pretty popular," Ledford said. "A lot of times
people get an animal like that without knowing what responsibilities are entailed in keeping an animal like that. They don’t have the proper type of cage or enclosure."

Ledford said the registry would help locate an owner if a reptile is found wandering.

"Especially with the large snakes, once they get out and get away from the owner, they’re afraid to come forward ... because they don’t know what he’s gotten into," Ledford said. "If we know there’s one in the area, we can go there first."

Wandering livestock has also been a problem.

In May, a man was killed after his car struck a horse that walked onto U.S. 129.

Animal Control wants to have tighter control over fencing to help avoid future problems.

"People need to maintain their fences, their pastures, their enclosures wherever they’re keeping these types of animals," Ledford said. "We’re seeing more and more often these accidents because a horse ran out in front of them or a cow’s standing in the middle of the road."

The other major change is that animals can now be classified as dangerous to other animals.

Animals who are aggressive toward other animals are often aggressive toward humans too.

"It’ll help us to be proactive toward the animals that have shown they’re already animal aggressive," Ledford said. "We can at least address it early and keep somebody from getting bit," Ledford said.

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