“I wanted to thank y’all for considering this progressive move and joining a lot of progressive cities around the country,” said the Humane Society of the United State’s Georgia State Director Debra Berger at Thursday night’s Senoia City Council meeting.
Before an overflow crowd, Senoia’s mayor and council unanimously approved revisions to their animal ordinance, including restricting the use of tethering and the sale of animals at pet stores.
The tethering restrictions include conditions that the length of the tether allows sufficient exercise area for the animal and access to its food, water, and shelter, and only for a reasonable time frame. Additionally, it lays out what proper sanitation, adequate water, and shelter conditions must be met for those animals.
Pet shops hoping to set up in Senoia will not be allowed to sell animals, and instead will be limited to providing space for an animal care facility or rescue group to adopt out to the public. The practice is aimed at limiting the sale of animals from unsafe puppy mills to the public.
“There’s nothing about a pet shop ordinance that’s anti-business,” said Berger, noting that in the rapidly-growing pet industry, only one of the top 25 businesses sells animals. “That’s an older model. The newer model is the PetCo model, the PetSmart model, where they allow your local rescue groups to adopt animals out, and then they make lifelong customers.
“This is simply saying let’s go with a more modern, progressive business model.”
City staff worked with local animal advocates and attorney Tamara Feliciano, the same attorney who worked with Fayette advocates, to create the updated ordinances.
Councilman Jeffrey Fisher applauded the teamwork between Coweta County, Senoia, and the Newnan Coweta Humane Society to help create a more humane model for animal treatment.
“The creation of this is longstanding and something that our local commissioners have embraced, and it’s something I would like to jump on board with to help them,” said Fisher. “I only wish the Fayette County commissioners would actually view this and be in lock step with us because there seems to be some dissension on the other side of the border with this type of topic.”