An ordinance to require the spaying or neutering of most cats and dogs in Macon was postponed for two weeks Monday afternoon, due to the absence of county or Animal Control representatives at the City Council committee meeting.
But the proposal, primarily sponsored by Councilwoman Nancy White, should be back Sept. 23. Meanwhile, a related ordinance from Councilman Tom Ellington to require spaying and neutering of animals adopted from the animal shelter is still being drafted.
White proposed a similar ordinance in December 2012. Facing considerable opposition, it was tabled then. Now, White said, local animal activist Edwina Barnes asked for the idea to be reconsidered before Macon and Bibb County governments merge in January.
Barnes also is looking for a sponsor among county commissioners, White said.
Whites current ordinance proposal is co-sponsored by Councilmen Rick Hutto and Larry Schlesinger. It calls for mandatory spaying and neutering of dogs and cats, with some exemptions: those used for breeding, service animals for the disabled, search and rescue animals, animals belonging to part-time residents and a few others.
During Mondays Public Safety Committee, White herself asked to postpone the matter this time. She wanted to wait for the presence of Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare Director Sarah Tenon as wells as some backers of the idea. Councilman Henry Gibson said county government representatives also should be invited.
Even during the brief discussion Monday, opposition emerged. Robert Harden, a Nottingham Drive resident, said he has had problems with feral animals for the past six years.
Im not an animal breeder. Im not an animal shower. Im just a dog and cat owner, plain and simple, he said. Animal control officers have told him theyre too busy to help, and a month ago feral animals killed one of his family pets, Harden said.
But Whites proposal includes no increased resources for enforcement and wouldnt be any more effective than existing laws, Harden said.
Gordon Turner of the Macon Kennel Club gave council members a written statement which said Whites proposal would be too expensive for pet owners and unenforceable by animal control officers. The kennel club prefers Ellingtons proposal, still in the works.
Ellington said his idea would require spaying or neutering animals before theyre adopted from the public shelter, rather than permitting those animals to be taken to a veterinarian for the procedure later. The draft calls for spaying or neutering pets that stray more than once, requiring them to be fixed before owners can retrieve them a second time, he said.
A proposed ordinance from Mayor Robert Reichert, which would close a loophole in city alcohol laws, was similarly tabled Monday. Gibson asked for more information from the police department before its reconsidered.
City ordinances now say people have to stop drinking at bars and nightclubs at 1 a.m. Mondays and 3 a.m. the rest of the week, but dont actually require them to leave the premises, said Keith Moffett, assistant to the chief administrative officer. Many people hang around long after that, and police are looking to prevent a recurrence of the July 5 shooting at the Zodiac Lounge which killed one and injured three, he said.
That facility was open at 4 oclock in the morning, Moffett said.
The ordinance would require patrons to actually leave when legal drinking stops.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.