Thursday, August 20, 2015


Iredell County NC Animal Control has proposed changes to the county ordinance. A public hearing is scheduled for August 25, 2015 at 6:00 PM, at the Iredell County Agricultural Extension Office, 444 Bristol Drive, in Statesville. The ordinance is posted online here
The proposed ordinance includes a number of very problematic changes for dog, cat, and horse owners. 

1. A poorly worded new definition of companion animal has been added. “Companion Animal means any animal kept primarily for pleasure, rather than utility, including, but not limited to, all domestic dogs (canus lupus familiarus), domestic cats (felis catus), and all members of the horse family (equidae), except when equines are used exclusively and actively for the maintenance of other utility livestock.” It is not clear which dogs will be considered utility or what purposes will be considered as kept for pleasure or why this division is necessary. Horses must never be defined as companion animals. They are livestock under state law and should remain so. Any other classification than livestock would subject horses to care standards at the whim of local officials. 

2. Size requirement for outdoor enclosures has been added. “As a guide, the enclosure should be a minimum of one hundred (100) square feet, plus five (5) square feet for each pound over twenty-five (25) total combined pounds for the animals contained therein.” Following this guideline, two 40-pound dogs kenneled together would require a 375 SF enclosure. A small kennel with 6 dogs would therefore require enclosures equaling 1,175 SF and 10 dogs would require pens totaling 1,975 SF. There is no logic or basis in either science or animal husbandry to dictate such pen sizes. These excessive space requirements impose unnecessary restrictions on hunters and dog hobbyists.

3. Added to cruelty to animals, new 5(c). ‘Dew claw removal and tail docking may only be performed by a veterinarian.’ Mandating that these simple procedures only be performed by a veterinarian places more stress and risk on newborn puppies than having the procedure done at home and risks exposure to disease.

4. Added to cruelty to animals, new 5(l), tethering requirements, setting minimum tether length at 10 feet with food, water, shelter required, and no tethering of companion animals less than 6 months of age. This requirement is problematic for hunting dogs being trained in the field. This also eliminates use of short tethers to tie out young dogs on a cable to watch older dogs being trained. In addition this provision eliminates use of short tethers for obedience and behavior training of dogs. Under the proposed ordinance many horses would now be included in the companion animal classification; however no clarification is given for using tie-rings or stall tethers. 

5. Additions to Wild and Exotic Animals definition, including them as inherently dangerous and therefore banned. (a) All primates; (b) Reptiles or amphibians which are venomous or constricting reptiles more than eight (8) feet (currently 10 feet); (c) hybrid dogs and cats. 

The justification given for banning hybrid cats and dogs is based on the fact no rabies vaccines are licensed for use in hybrids. This is a complicated subject and this discussion overlooks the logical aspect of administration and efficiency of rabies vaccinations in hybrids. The proposal to ban hybrids does not take into consideration the fact many hybrids, both dog and cat, can be generations away from the original wild-domestic cross. In a recent survey by the SBA Alliance, over 84% of 2,357 owners responded their cat was F4 or more, meaning at least four generations from the original wild cat parent. In addition, in 1996 Kansas State University ran a study on Bengals who had been vaccinated by rabies and found that 100% had retained immunity based on titers. Kansas State University continues to be part of the process to evaluate antibody test reports. 

Savannahs, Bengals and Chausie, descend from a wild ancestor. According to The International Cat Association (TICA) the Bengal has been the most popular breed for the past several years with 103,593 Bengals registered as of January, 2014. In addition, the Savannah has been the fourth most popular breed in TICA for the past few years with 9,799 Savannahs registered. The Chausie, although not as popular, comes from similar roots as the other two breeds and is also a unique, domestic cat breed, with 1,023 Chausies registered with TICA. Read more on hybrid-derived domestic breeds from TICA

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states in its Animal Welfare regulations, “Crosses between wild animal species and domestic animals, such as dogs and wolves or buffalo and domestic cattle, are considered to be domestic animals.” 

ACTION REQUIRED NOW. Contact the Iredell County Commissioners with objections to the proposed ordinance changes.

James B Mallory III, Chairman
Marvin Norman, Vice Chairman,
Thomas Bowles
Steven "Steve" D. Johnson
Kenneth "Ken" M. Robertson Jr.
Board of Commissioners Phone 704-878-3058

Please share this alert widely. Iredell County residents need to strongly oppose these new provisions.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen’s & Animals Owner’s Voting Alliance (SAOVA)

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