Officials must tread carefully on pet issue

City commissioners say they are contemplating changing the ordinances that govern pet ownership in this port town.

They have an opportunity to do so now that Glynn County has assumed complete responsibility for animal control services inside the city limits, both in residential and commercial areas of the municipality.

For the most part, commissioners have hinted they would like to make the rules more restrictive on practices they consider dangerous and more favorable overall to the health and well being of pets.

All we can say at this early stage of discussion is please tread carefully.

A unified animal enforcement code, one that covers city and county residential areas with the same list of dos and don'ts, is less difficult to enforce than one that features separate laws for each entity and for every kind of situation. Better stated, it is far easier to memorize one book of rules than it is to try to commit two books of rules to memory.

The city can do what it wants, of course.

It is autonomous, after all.

The only reason the county is even taking over animal control services on the peninsula is because of a deal made between the two governments.

It's what the county has to do in exchange for a larger share of the 1 percent local option sales tax.

But before city commissioners start requiring official tape measures to be used on dog leashes to make sure they are a certain, approved length, they should sit down with animal control officers and animal control supervisors. Some rules may be unnecessary because they are already on the books and others may be simply unenforceable.

Knowledge is power.

If nothing else, knowledge of what can or can't be done will help elected city officials avoid unnecessary or silly rules and demands.