CAIRO — Work on the City of Cairo’s animal ordinance is finally finished.

The Cairo City Council unanimously approved modifications to its current ordinance on Monday after almost seven months of work.

City Attorney Tom Lehman said the changes include specifying that all “vicious” animals — any animal that bites or attacks without provocation — be registered.

“We didn’t have that before and it was a major change to the ordinance,” said City Clerk Carolyn Lee on Wednesday. “This registration should take place by April 1 and be done on an annual basis. The fee is $40 and a $100,000 liability policy is also required.”

The owner must also provide a current color photo of the animal upon registration.

The Cairo City Council previously discussed the proposed introduction of an ordinance to amend the city’s code regarding “Animals and Fowl,” specifically regarding “vicious” dogs and, breed-specific, pit bulls, but ultimately decided to not introduce a new policy that would pinpoint any specific breed of dog as “vicious” in late 2006.

“The first proposal had ‘vicious’ and ‘dangerous’ and all sorts of specifications,” said Councilman Jimmy Douglas on Wednesday. “This final proposal eliminated all that and clarifies that any animal meeting the criteria for a ‘vicious’ animal must be declared and registered.”

The city also previously consulted with the Cairo Police Department, Animal Control, the Grady County Sheriff’s Office, other county and city officials and local veterinarians regarding proposed changes to the ordinance before putting it up for vote.

The issue was brought to the council on Aug. 28, 2006, prompted by a letter sent to Mayor Richard VanLandingham from a concerned citizen who said she was attacked by a neighbor’s pit bull while walking her dog near Eastside Elementary School.

“The ordinance has to do its job,” said VanLandingham at the meeting.

Douglas said he felt it was time to put the item to rest and made the motion to approve the document.

“I’m glad we got something worked out that I think the Animal Control folks can deal with,” he said on Wednesday. “I think it would have been real complicated for the vets and Animal Control to deal with it the way it was presented a few months ago.”

City Manager William Whitson said Tuesday that he is satisfied with the modifications.

“I think we’ve cleaned up the ordinance to address all potential complications,” he said.

Recommended for you