Animal rights enthusiasts are calling for Metter City Council to tighten its regulations regarding proper care for outdoor animals.

Addressing council members at their August meeting, animal shelter volunteer Shelley Strange spoke for the group in attendance.

“We are here to address concerns with the enforcement of adequate shelter and humane care of confined animals whether tethered, chained or in an outdoor kennel,” she said. 

She referred to recent complaints made regarding dogs chained with no access to shade in May and in February of a dog chained to a tree in cold weather with no shelter. 

“We feel like the system is broken and we need to fix it,” she said. 

“Some people just don’t stop and think of the needs for their dog. To begin with, tethering has been deemed inhumane by every animal welfare organization. Twelve counties in this state have a no-tether law. But if you do tether, you have a responsibility to provide adequate shelter. That is the law,” Strange said.

After reviewing the areas where complaints were filed, City Manager Mandi Cody said that a “difference of opinion” is guiding the concerns of the volunteers and the response of City Hall.

“‘Adequate’ and ‘preferential’ are sometimes subjective and very difficult to distinguish,” she said. “I agree we should do a good job providing adequate shelter, but balancing that from an enforcement perspective is a different job that takes training, the right kind of approach and time.

“What I have seen, I will agree with you, is less than preferential, but it may be adequate in some cases. It may not be what we recommend, but at times it is the best people can do.”

Cody then thanked the groups for sharing their concerns and encouraged them not to get discouraged.

“You are getting somewhere,” she said. “Something is happening.”

Cody informed the group and council members that she and city personnel have met a number of times and been to sites of concern and are continuing to investigate possible options.

In other business of the meeting ...

• Becky and Glyn Thrift announced plans for the 2nd annual Battle of the Badges Blood Drive in September. The “Battle” was won by Candler County EMS last year.

Each of the different agencies -- Metter Police, Metter Fire Department, EMS and Candler County Sheriff’s Office -- compete to get the most blood donations in their agency’s name. 

Also that day, Metter Primitive Baptist Church will furnish hamburgers and hot dogs for all first responders, whether they give blood or not.

• Police Chief Mack Seckinger asked council to support certification of the police department through Georgia Assocation Chiefs of Police. 

“This is the highest form of credibility that I am aware of that a police department in Georgia can receive,” said Cody.

“Our training now is haphazard,” Seckinger said. “This is very specific.” He explained that members of the department will receive training on 12 critical tasks every year.

• City Clerk Angie Conner announced that City Hall is being set up now for online payments and acceptance of debit/credit card payment on site.

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