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Forsyth County enacts animal ordinance changes

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Michelle Louise Root of Gainesville was accused of abusing a dog at her pet grooming business. The dog later died. (AJC file)

Major changes have been made to Forsyth County’s animal control regulations by county commissioners after a lengthy series of public hearings and stakeholder meetings.

One major alteration spells out that dogs can only be tethered in the physical presence of their owner or handler and that the tether must be used with a proper collar or harness. It also updates animal cruelty provisions in significant ways, in that a person convicted of animal cruelty or neglect can’t own or posses an animal for at least one year. It also requires that anyone applying for a license to operate an animal care facility, including veterinarians, be required to be familiar with law enforcement hotline procedures for reporting animal abuse. Those who don’t do so could have their licenses revoked.

Officials decided not to create a permitting process.

The changes also require those adopting from the county animal shelter to certify they haven’t been convicted of animal abuse or neglect in a decade.

The discussion on changing the law started after the owner of a Forsyth County animal grooming business was charged with abusing a customer’s dog, which later died at an animal hospital.

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