County officials update animal ordinance to help protect pets

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Targeting cat owners and changing shelter requirements for outdoor animals are just some of the changes Savannah Chatham Animal Control has put in place to keep animals safe.

According to Kerry Sirevicius, Animal Services Director, “We really tried to define that well because we take a strong stance against any kind of cruelty or neglect–and that becomes very neglectful if you don’t have to proper shelter, especially here in Georgia.

“They need shade, they need some nice fresh water. They have to have access to these things all day long.”
County officials say the change in the old ordinances were reactive, so now they’re trying to take a proactive approach.
“It’s to lessen euthanasia in any animals here at the shelter and that’s near and dear to our heart,” Sirevicius said. “We never want to be euthanizing any animals, and this ordinance actually makes more stringent rules.”

Rules that include having a 100-square foot shelter for each dog kept outside.

“Within that, the shelter just has to be insulated, it has to have a roof, three sides and a floor (as well as) a barrier from the ground so they are not on the wet ground ever.”

And you need to make sure your cats have the proper tags so they’re not picked up by Animal Control. On Monday, they took in 50 cats alone.
Officials site overpopulation with only one way to keep them at bay.
“One of the biggest things you can do to prevent them from roaming is to spay and neuter them. After a cat gets spade and neutered it gets really lazy. It really doesn’t want to move far from their home.”

If you violate the new ordinance, consequences could take you  all the way to court.
And Animal Services officials say they only want to keep these animals out of harm’s way.

“Things will change with cruelty and neglect as we will be utilizing the state law and the state law comes with higher criminal penalties with misdemeanors and felonies.”

Sirevicius also added she’s heard comments of cats needing to be on leashes while outside, but she wants to reassure you that is not the case as it would be impossible to enforce.

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