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City looking to take reins of animal control
Councilman Phillips: I believe we can do it cheaper
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After months of discussions and failed attempts to come to agreements with other agencies to oversee Dawsonville's animal control issues, the city council is now considering taking the job into its own hands.

The council on Monday released copies of a proposed ordinance that would create an animal control board, establish a facility for a small shelter and hire a city veterinarian "on an annual basis for both care and euthanasia/disposal of impounded animals."

City Attorney Dana Miles drafted the proposed ordinance at the direction of the council, which has tried for the last several months to come to an agreement over animal control within the city limits.

Previously, the city had a tenuous contract with Dawson County to take care of any stray or dangerous animals within its city limits at the cost of nearly $300 per animal picked up.

When an intergovernmental agreement couldn't be reached with Dawson County officials, the city attempted to enter in to agreement with Lumpkin County for $45 per animal sheltered at its facilities.

While it appeared Lumpkin County officials were on board, that community saw otherwise, prompting commissioners to listen to the outspoken constituency and not move forward with the agreement.

Councilman Caleb Phillips has led the charge to bring the city's animal control issues to a conclusion.

"First, I don't think the city should have to do animal control anyway," he said, in reference to the saga over the issue with the Dawson County Board of Commissioners.

"That's an outrageous amount of money. It's way overpriced, and I believe we can do it cheaper. That's the only reason I want to do it this way."

Phillips is also aware that the clause concerning euthanasia after five days of animals picked up within the city is likely to stir community emotions, especially since the Dawson County Humane Society, which is funded through the county commission's support, actively bills itself as a no-kill shelter.

"We've got to come up with something," he said.

The issue of animal control within the city limits has been actively bounced around for at least the last six months when an incident involving a stray dog snapping at visitors at the historic courthouse on the town square was made public.

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

However, without a signed intergovernmental agreement between the two entities, county officials said the issue fell back on the city.

When an agreement could not be reached, the city pursued other avenues, including taking a proposal to Lumpkin that ultimately failed.

Currently, the county is continuing to work with the city to pick up stray animals until the issue is resolved.

The council is currently reviewing the proposal presented Monday night with the first public hearing set for 4 p.m. Nov. 16 at city hall.