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Monday, July 25, 2011

Hunting dog use in danger in Perry County, Indiana

Who would have thought Perry County, Indiana, would be a place to consider an animal control ordinance, which effectively would ban hunting with dogs.
Perry County is a beautiful, rural county with a rich hunting tradition.
Perry County’s Commissioners are considering a new animal control ordinance. The current version of the ordinance is quite detailed. It is 39 pages long and includes eight pages of definitions.
And while the proposed ordinance isn’t something most of us would consider good bedtime reading, it is an important document for anyone in Perry County who cares about animals, including those who enjoy hunting.
It’s ramifications can spread farther than county lines. If enacted as in its current form, it appears it would eliminate hunting with dogs in the county.
While the intent of the law probably is good. I’ll give the politicians benefit of the doubt, it needs changes.  
According to the ordinance, a Perry County Animal Welfare and Control Committee reviewed the current county ordinances, plus ordinances of other cities and counties and has recommended a new ordinance.
Many animal shelters and control organizations across the country have been struggling due to the poor economy. In some cases, there has been a decrease in contributions and funding, while there has been an increased need for animal care as some people have abandoned or become unable to afford to care for their animals.
While increased revenues for animal control and shelter doesn’t appear to be specified as a reason for the ordinance, it likely is part of the thinking of those pushing it. I’m no accountant, but it would appear the ordinance would increase revenues, possibly significantly by the fees proposed.
Among the concerns is item 5 on page 22. “An animal shall be leashed when it is off the owner’s property. One end of the leash shall be attached to the collar or harness and the other end attached to the person accompanying the animal. This provision shall not apply to an animal that is otherwise physically restrained at any facility.”
I’d guess much of the proposed law has been lifted from a larger urban area. 
Few people object to a leash law, but do object to theire being no exception made for hunting. Many hunters use dogs for squirrels, rabbits, quail, raccoons, and retrieving waterfowl. It also seems you should be able to excercise an animal which is under your control.
An exemption could be made for dogs under the control of licensed persons legally hunting.
It also is interesting that among the groups from which board members might come is listed Horse Rescue. However, there is no mention of fees and licenses for horses. Even ferrets are included, but not horses. There was a day when horses were primarily used for work, but today they are primarily keep for recreations just like hunting dogs.
An important meeting concerning the ordinance and the final proposal which also relates to kennels, and other animals, including cats, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at the EMT building in Tell City.

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