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Urbanna would have to pay cost of a leash law

by Larry S. Chowning

If the Urbanna Town Council votes to adopt a leash law, town taxpayers will be footing the bill for the cost of extra enforcement—not the county, wrote Assistant Middlesex County Administrator Marcia Jones in a letter dated November 19 to Urbanna citizen Robert H. Calves.

Middlesex County does not have a leash law, and Jones wrote in her letter to Calves, “If the town chooses to enact different ordinances that are more stringent than the county’s ordinance, it is then up to the town to enforce it.”

The letter came after Calves addressed the Middlesex Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday, November 17, meeting. Calves told the board Urbanna citizens pay full taxes to the county and should be treated to the same services as the rest of the county. 

County officials assumed Calves was referring to a draft of a new Urbanna animal control ordinance that includes a leash law. 

“Tuesday evening, at the Board of Supervisors meeting, you mentioned something about Animal Control in the Town of Urbanna,” Jones wrote to Calves. “As you mentioned, the town should be treated the same as the rest of the county. That is exactly right; we enforce the same (animal control) ordinance in the town as we do in the rest of the county.  Town residents pay taxes to the county and we do not expect their tax dollars to go toward services any different than the rest of the taxpayers receive.

“We have a very nice facility for our animals with 20 runs,” continued Jones. “Those 20 runs serve the entire county. We have one animal control officer and one part-time animal warden that is called out on holidays, weekends and evenings, only in the event of an emergency.

“If the town decided to enact a leash law or something similar, I have no idea where we would hold all the animals to meet state requirements,” wrote Jones.

“We are always ready and willing to assist the town if at all possible.  Our goal, however, is to treat everyone equally,” concluded Jones.

Draft Ordinance

After several complaints from town citizens about roaming dogs, the Urbanna Town Council is currently considering a draft of a new animal control ordinance that would forbid dogs from “running at large,” and requiring that they be on a leash when “on the streets or alleys of town.”

The draft ordinance prohibits animal trespassing and states that it would be unlawful “to allow any such animal to go upon the premises of another person without the owner’s permission.”

A copy of the draft ordinance is available at the Urbanna town office for public review. 

posted 11.24.2009

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