New animal ordinance proposed

Published 12:01 am Thursday, October 24, 2019

NATCHEZ — Representatives of the Natchez Adams County Humane Society proposed an amended animal control ordinance during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Natchez Board of Aldermen that would require pets to be spayed or neutered or would require breeders to purchase an annual permit.

Additionally, the ordinance would require kennel licenses for pet owners who exceed a certain number of pets a family may own depending on breed size and property size.

Deanna Kimbro, board president for the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society, said the proposed ordinance had been derived from other Southern cities with established breeding laws and can be adapted before the board considers it for approval.

Email newsletter signup

“We can talk about it and make some changes as needed, but we needed somewhere to start,” Kimbro said. “We’re really interested in making sure every animal is spayed or neutered. … If we don’t have that, then we will continue to have animal issues here in the city.”

Kimbro said the proposed change would require pet owners to pay $150 per unaltered pet each year — which is about the cost of castration surgery — and would give exceptions to pets that are not of breeding age. Alderman Dan Dillard suggested the board consider a higher permit fee so that pet owners would be more apt to pay for surgery than purchase a permit.

Shelter Manager Lena McKnight said the new ordinance aims to prevent overpopulation as well as prevent animals from being bred for dogfighting purposes.

McKnight said the types of animals that would be eligible for a breeding permit would be limited to legitimate breeding animals that are registered and not pit-bull mixes or other unregistered mixed breeds.

“What we don’t want is people saying, ‘Well, I’ll just pay this and not have my dog altered’ and then we just keep taking puppies because they weren’t fixed,” McKnight said. “We don’t want just any dog sitting in the backyard unaltered. The ordinance specifies the criteria for an unaltered dog. It does not require them to be high-level AKC registered. It can be CKC or smaller breeding associations. We just want it to be a proven breeding animal.”

The board of Aldermen took the ordinance under advisement during Tuesday’s meeting. Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said an updated animal ordinance is much needed.

“I’ve met with the humane society on several occasions about this,” Grennell said. “As we know, there are some major problems that exist in this city in terms of dogs and cats, and we’ve got to have an upgraded ordinance.”