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City, county at odds over animal control responsibility
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The ongoing saga over animal control responsibility in the Dawsonville city limits may not be over yet.

Dawson County Attorney Joey Homans says he still has legal concerns with an intergovernmental agreement presented to the county by the Dawsonville City Council.

"My concern is that if you sign the agreement as it is presented, it may not be enforceable as a matter of law," he said.

The issue of animal control response recently came up due to an incident at the historic courthouse involving a dog snapping at citizens.

The city was contacted by concerned residents, who in turn were told to contact the county's animal control.

Because the city currently does not have an intergovernmental agreement with the county regarding animal control, the issue was bounced between the two entities.

At issue between the two governments is how animal control in the city would be funded.

Homans cited the Georgia Constitution and case law in presentation to the board commissioners last week.

"There is also case in the constitutional provision that says you, the county, in control of the county funds, will not grant a donation or a gratuity. You have to receive something in return for paying tax funds for any entity including a city," he said.

City Attorney Dana Miles has said approval of the agreement as presented to the county "would avoid the issue of having to create a special tax district for the city."

The agreement, he said, would split the responsibility of animal control between the city and the county.

"This will allow the county's marshal to enforce the city's ordinance within the city limits, which is identical to the county's own animal control ordinance," Miles said. "It also states that the county would pay for the animal control and the city would pay for the court services and all related court costs and the city and county would divide equally all fines [from that pickup]."

A vote by county commissioners is expected during Thursday's 6 p.m. board meeting.

 

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