FAYETTEVILLE — It is no secret that Cumberland County has a major animal control problem. A new Fayetteville proposal may help the city keep better track of pet owners and their pets.
Animal owners in Cumberland County, including those in Fayetteville, are supposed to register their pets with the county's animal control office. Only 30,000 of the county's estimated 130,000 pets are registered.
Fayetteville city leaders have been working on a proposal to enforce pet registration in the city. Robert Cogswell,Fayetteville's city attorney, is part of a special committee that wants to use the city's Public Works Commission to keep track of the city's registered animals.
Under the committee's recommendation, pets would have to be registered with the county and the city. Owners would be required to put a sticker on their utility meters. Those meters would be checked by PWC workers on their rounds. If a worker sees a pet but no sticker, they would be required to report it.
"There's just a lot of dogs that are not registered," Cogswell says. "Registration helps identify animals when they're hurt or when a dog bites someone."
The proposal would also require all dogs to be fenced in. That means dogs could no longer be tied up in yards. If they are, the owners could face penalties.
"If you've got a large dog, and you don't keep it in the house, somehow that dog has to be contained on the property," Cogswell says.
Owners who violate any part of the ordinance would pay fines steeper than those currently in place.
Crystal Mayeux has owned dogs all of her life. Her two Huskies are her pride and joy, and she knows the importance of keeping them close to home.
"If you have dogs running up and down the road, not only can they cause an accident," Mayeux says. "People really need to control them."
Mayeux and her family have just moved to Fayetteville. Her dogs are not yet registered, and she plans to build a fence for them soon. She hopes other pet owners will do the same.
"My theory is if you don't want the animal, and you don't want to take care of it, don't get it in the first place," she says.
The proposal has not been finalized, and the committee may have to go back to the drawing board. The PWC may change to an automated meter-reading system, meaning workers would no longer make rounds, and a new proposal would have to be created.